Eric Haase and Victor Reyes homered and the Detroit Tigers took advantage of Minnesota’s sloppy play, beating touted pitching prospect Simeon Woods Richardson and the Twins 5-2 Sunday.
Woods Richardson made his big league debut five days after turning 22 years old, making him the youngest pitcher in the majors this season. The Twins’ defense did him no favors at the start, committing three errors in the first inning.
“When you look up and you see a three in the last column of the boxscore and the game just started, obviously that’s not what you’re looking for,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
“Obviously, first inning, whether it’s nerves, who knows what it is, but he was still finding his release point and still finding his command. But once he did, I think we got a chance to see what this young man’s capable of," he said.
The Tigers turned the two throwing errors by catcher Ryan Jeffers and a misplay by first baseman Jose Miranda, along with Miguel Cabrera’s single, a wild pitch, a walk and a stolen base, into two runs.
Woods Richardson (0-1), acquired in July 2021 from Toronto in the trade for pitcher José Berríos, allowed three runs — two earned — and three hits in five innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out three.
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“I was breathing maybe a half a second, almost hyperventilating,” Woods Richardson said. “But after the first inning was done, we got back into the zone, got back into the rhythm, mental cues that I had, and just pitched my game.”
Haase hit his 14th home run of the season, and second in as many days, in the third. He is second on the team in home runs to Javier Báez, who has 16.
“Obviously we wish we were playing like this the entire year,” Haase said. “It was obviously in there. But we’re trying to finish strong and just make whatever good we can to finish the year.”
The Twins scored two unearned runs in the fifth. Jeffers reached on a fielding error and scored when Carlos Correa walked with the bases loaded. Nick Gordon’s sacrifice fly scored Gilberto Celestino.
Joey Wentz made his seventh and final start of the season for Detroit, allowing two unearned runs on two hits while walking four and striking out four in 4 2/3 innings.
Tigers relievers Will Vest, Garrett Hill, Jason Foley, Alex Lange (7-4) and Gregory Soto combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Soto picked up his 30th save with a perfect ninth.
“I just go out there and attack hitters, try to get the outs that I’m given,” Lange said. “I just want to go out there and throw up as many zeros as I can.”
Reyes homered to lead off the bottom of the eighth off former teammate Michael Fulmer. It was Reyes’ first home run since July 2 against Kansas City.
Cabrera added a single for his 1,846th career RBI.
“We want to go home at the end of the year feeling better than we have for much of the year, and wins will do that,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s been a nice month. We have four more games in three days, but I’m proud of our guys for sticking to it ’til the end.”
Before Sunday’s game, the Twins selected the contract of Woods Richardson and optioned RHP Ronny Henriquez. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins transferred C Sandy León to the 60-day injured list.
Twins: RHP Bailey Ober (2-3, 3.18) will start Monday when the Twins visit the Chicago White Sox. Ober will face the White Sox for the third time this season and is 1-0 with an 0.73 ERA with one walk in 16 strikeouts in the previous two starts.
Tigers: RHP Bryan Garcia (1-0, 3.29) will start Monday night in Seattle. Garcia will be called up from Triple-A Toledo and Wentz will be sent down to make room on the 28-man roster.