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Twins seek to shake off rocky road trip in rematch with Tigers

Sportsnaut
Jul 21, 2022; Oakland, California, USA;  Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Tarik Skubal (29) pitches during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins began a post-All-Star break road trip with two straight wins, but then lost four of their last five, including a 3-2 setback at San Diego on Sunday afternoon.

They can take some solace in still leading the American League Central by one game over the Cleveland Guardians. Further, in the Twins’ 28 games in August, 20 will be at home in Target Field, where they’re 27-22 this season.

Minnesota opens a seven-game homestand on Monday night with a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. The Twins started their recent road trip with two wins over the Tigers, outscoring them 17-5 in the process, and are 5-1 against Detroit in Minneapolis so far this season.

Minnesota hasn’t named a starter for Monday’s opener, but there was media speculation that the Twins could call up veteran major league right-hander Aaron Sanchez, who is 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A St. Paul.

Sanchez is 38-37 over eight big league seasons. However, Minnesota would need to clear a spot on its 40-man roster to bring him up.

Detroit will start left-hander Tarik Skubal (7-8, 3.67 ERA). Skubal is 2-3 with a 4.39 ERA in eight career starts against Minnesota, but he is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in five starts at Target Field.

Skubal was impressive in his last outing against the Twins on June 1 in Detroit, however, allowing just two hits and striking out six over seven innings in a 5-0 victory.

Both teams sputtered over the weekend. Minnesota, which was swept in a two-game midweek series at Milwaukee, dropped two of three to the Padres and managed just four hits in Sunday’s loss. Two of those hits were solo homers by Luis Arraez and rookie infielder Jose Miranda.

“Tight ball game,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We just couldn’t get it done. … Long road trip. A winning road trip and a losing road trip comes down to just a couple plays in this game.”

“We’ve got a good team,” Miranda told Twincities.com. “We know we’ve got to get better. We’ve played some good teams this road trip, some playoff contenders. We know we’ve got to get better. … But we’ve just got to keep grinding, keep battling and give our best out there.”

Miranda has 10 home runs and 39 RBIs in 214 at-bats.

Detroit dropped three of four games at Toronto, including a sloppy 4-1 loss on Sunday that saw the Tigers finish with more errors (four) than hits (three). Detroit, which is 21 games under .500 for the first time this season, is a major-league-worst 17-35 on the road.

“It was (expletive),” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said when asked about the errors which included a dropped pop-up by Javy Baez and a dropped fly ball by left fielder Robbie Grossman. “That’s my thoughts. It was inexcusable. Those are sloppy plays that need to be made. … These are big boys. They can make plays.”

Baez hit his 10th homer of the season off his brother-in-law, Jose Berrios, for Detroit’s lone run. But he also had an errant throw to first for another error.

“It’s frustrating,” Baez said. “But at the same time, (Saturday) we lost and we had more hits than the other team. Things come back and forth. We’re looking forward to getting better and playing defense.”

–Field Level Media