Key homer by Minnesota Twins sinks Detroit Tigers, 3-2


Associated Press

DETROIT — Bailey Ober pitched six solid innings and Josh Donaldson’s two-run homer helped the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Monday.

“We are very, very pleased with the way Bailey is throwing the ball,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “His slider was serious today, but his success isn’t just due to his stuff. When he needs a pitch, he finds a way to make one.”

It was Ober’s first win since July 5, but the rookie right-hander has gone 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in his last eight starts. More importantly, at least in his mind, he has struck out 40 batters while walking only six.

“I had to make some adjustments because I was fighting with my mechanics earlier in the season,” he said. “When I’m in a rhythm, I’m not walking guys, because I’m challenging them and making them swing the bat. I’ve gotten back to that point in these last few starts.”

The Twins have won three of four. Detroit has lost four of five, scoring only nine runs.

“I thought we had some very good at-bats today and we had some that we gave away early in the at-bat,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We did enough to give ourselves a chance, but we need to get a few more big hits.”

Ober (2-2) held the slumping Tigers’ offense to two runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out five without walking a batter. Two Minnesota relievers finished the game, with Alex Colome pitching the ninth inning for his 10th save.

The Tigers got a brief reprieve in the ninth. Harold Castro grounded back to the mound with two out, but a replay showed that Colome’s throw pulled first baseman Miguel Sano off the bag. That gave Detroit runners on first and third, but pinch hitter Robbie Grossman flew out to right.

Tigers starter Casey Mize (7-7) gave up three runs on five hits — including Donaldson’s homer, his 21st of the season — in six innings. He walked one and struck out four.

Derek Hill gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the third inning, hitting a solo homer into Detroit’s bullpen, but the Twins scored three times in the fourth.

With one out, Jorge Polanco tied the game with an RBI single and Donaldson followed with a home run into the shrubbery above the centerfield fence.

Zack Short’s bloop single pulled the Tigers to within 3-2 in the fifth.