DETROIT – He already had crushed a home run over the right field wall, so when Niko Goodrum bounced another long fly ball over it for a ground-rule double, Jose Berrios had had enough.
“Hey,” Berrios shouted at Goodrum, standing on second base. “You want to kill me today?”
Goodrum started laughing. The pair of long-ago Twins draftees were teammates on six different teams in six different cities, and “we’re good friends,” Berrios said. “He just got me today.”
He got all the Twins, actually, because Goodrum was also in the middle of the Tigers’ four-run rally off Addison Reed in the eighth inning, scoring the go-ahead run in Detroit’s 5-2 victory at Comerica Park that dropped Minnesota back to third place in the AL Central. But perhaps most galling about Goodrum’s night was this: The Twins’ entire lineup had only one more hit than their former teammate.
“Just not enough offense,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We got off to a good start, [then] went six innings without getting another hit. It’s an offensive disappointment. We couldn’t hold the lead, I get that. But you’ve got to be able to score more than that.”
No kidding. The Twins held a 2-0 lead just three batters into the game, due largely to some typically audacious baserunning by Eddie Rosario — he stretched a single to the gap into a double, then scored when center fielder Leonys Martin hesitated before throwing home — but then the whole team went silent. Tigers lefthander Matt Boyd didn’t allow a hit after the first inning, and neither did three of the four relievers who followed him.
“Some guys are having a hard time right now, whether they’re putting more pressure on themselves or not,” Molitor said. “I know the game is not easy. It’s not a blame thing, as much as it’s work and try to get yourself out of it if you’re in a funk.”
Sure, Eduardo Escobar, one of the few hot hitters on the Twins these days, raced around the bases for an eighth-inning triple off Joe Jimenez, but Miguel Sano hit a first-pitch chopper back to the mound and Robbie Grossman struck out, stranding him at third.
“Didn’t look like it was a great pitch to try to elevate. It was down a little bit. I’m not sure he was looking for what he swung at,” Molitor said about Sano’s brief at-bat. “That would have been a nice insurance run to pick up.”
Instead, it merely set up Reed’s ugly inning. Berrios had brilliantly pitched out of a couple of difficult jams, one a bases-loaded fifth and then a two-on-no-out challenge in the sixth, and allowed just one run on Goodrum’s homer. But Reed, handed the 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, faced seven batters and five of them singled, turning a tense struggle into a dismal disappointment for the Twins. Reed got ahead in the count, 0-2 five different times, yet still ended up surrendering the lead.
“Man, I had everybody where I wanted them,” Reed said. “Just not finishing the job off. Not much more to it than that.”
John Hicks started that mess with a one-out single to center on an 0-2 fastball, and Goodrum moved pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez into scoring position with a single of his own on an 0-2 slider, his third hit of the night. Grayson Greiner grounded a hit to right to tie the score, and after a flyout, Victor Reyes lined a single to left — yep, on an 0-2 fastball — to score Goodrum with the go-ahead run that deprived Berrios of his eighth victory.
The Tigers added two more runs off Reed when Martin chopped another single to right, scoring Greiner and, when Grossman’s throw flew into the camera well next to Detroit’s dugout, scoring Reyes, too.