Detroit Tigers fight to a series split with Minnesota Twins


The Detroit Tigers welcomed the Minnesota Twins to Comerica Park for their first home series against an AL Central rival. The series, filled with dramatic swings, saw the Tigers capture a commanding victory in the opener, but struggle to maintain momentum in the subsequent Saturday double-header. Fortunately, their young resilience never wavered and they finished off a dramatic comeback late in game four to defeat the Twins and split the series at two.

Game 1 – Friday – Tigers Secure 8-2 Victory Over Twins

The series between the Tigers and Twins kicked on a high note for Detroit, following Thursday’s rainout. On Friday, Tigers’ standout left-hander Tarik Skubal took the mound with finesse, swiftly retiring the first eight batters. His performance shone particularly bright with his changeup, a pitch he has refined remarkably this season. Skubal balanced his use of changeups, which accounted for half of his 20 called, showcasing his evolved pitching strategy.

Although Skubal’s outing—five scoreless innings and five strikeouts—wasn’t flashy, it was undeniably effective. He helped set the stage for the Tigers to dismantle the defending AL Central champions with an 8-2 win. At the plate, left fielder Riley Greene hit 2-for-3, including a walk and an RBI. Right fielder Mark Canha also had a productive day, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs. Spencer Torkelson and Matt Vierling each contributed with two RBIs, bolstering the Tigers’ offensive performance.

Game 2 – Saturday – First Game of Doubleheader Ends in 11-5 Loss for Tigers

Saturday’s opening game of the doubleheader stretched into extra innings after a tightly contested nine innings ended in a 3-3 deadlock. The game slipped away from the Tigers in the 12th inning when the Twins secured an 11-5 victory, marking just their second win in seven games. Ryan Jeffers, stepping up as the Twins’ designated hitter, drove in five crucial runs from the eighth inning onward.

The score remained tied after each team added a run in the 11th inning, pushing the game into the 12th. Former closer Alex Lange took the mound for Detroit but struggled, walking a run and nearly escaping the inning before a prolonged duel with Jeffers. After a 12-pitch at-bat, including six foul balls from an 0-2 count, Jeffers grounded Lange’s final curveball to third. The ball escaped under Zack McKinstry’s glove, clearing the bases as it rolled into the left-field corner. The Twins then extended their lead with a three-run homer off McKinstry, who had come in to replace Lange, sealing the Tigers’ fate with an 11-5 defeat.

Tigers’ starting pitcher Kenta Maeda delivered a strong six-inning performance, allowing just five hits and two runs, though one was unearned due to his own error during a double-play attempt. He also registered five strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Game 3 – Saturday – Second Game of Doubleheader Results in 4-1 Loss for Tigers

In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Detroit’s batting woes persisted into the late afternoon. Simeon Woods Richardson, promoted from Triple-A St. Paul for a spot start, effectively shut down the Tigers’ lineup. He struck out five and set down his last 14 batters, allowing just one run on two hits over six innings. The Tigers’ hitters struggled, striking out ten times, bringing their total to 42 strikeouts over the first three games of the series—the highest in a three-game stretch since August 2022.

Tigers starter Matt Manning, also called up for a spot start, didn’t deliver his best performance but kept the game within reach. He pitched 6.2 innings, surrendering five hits and four earned runs, including two home runs, and issued two walks while striking out seven Twins. Manning threw a total of 92 pitches, 68 for strikes. Joey Wentz came in relief for 2.1 innings, conceding two hits and a walk while striking out four, yet the offensive support simply wasn’t there, culminating in a 4-1 defeat for Detroit.

Game 4 – Sunday: Tigers Clinch a 4-3 Victory Over Twins

For the first seven innings on Sunday, the Detroit Tigers seemed on the verge of another letdown, following a sluggish start in the series finale. However, the atmosphere at Comerica Park transformed when Javier Baez stepped up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. On the fifth pitch from Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar, Baez blasted a 399-foot homer over the left-field fence, narrowing the Twins’ lead to 3-1 and igniting the crowd.

The momentum continued as catcher Carson Kelly capitalized on an error by Twins shortstop Willi Castro, reaching first base on a hard-hit grounder. Riley Greene then singled, advancing Kelly to third. Veteran right-handed hitter Mark Canha followed with a crucial double down the third-base line, driving in two runs to tie the game at 3-3. Notably, Canha advanced to third on aggressive baserunning as the outfield throw missed the cutoff man.

Spencer Torkelson, batting third, then lofted a shallow right-field single that brought Canha home, putting the Tigers ahead 4-3. This lead held firm as manager AJ Hinch summoned closer Jason Foley, who secured his fourth save despite a challenging inning, issuing two walks but managing critical outs to end the game.

Relief pitcher Will Vest claimed the win with 1.2 hitless innings, effectively stifling the Twins’ bats and throwing 9 of his 12 pitches for strikes. Tigers starter Jack Flaherty, though not at his best, delivered a gritty performance, striking out eight over 6.1 innings while allowing three runs.

This crucial win, marking the 800th in Tigers manager A.J. Hinch’s career — the fourth most among active MLB managers — capped a series that tested the Tigers’ resolve but ultimately demonstrated their capacity for a dramatic late-game rally, boosting their season record to 9-6.

Up Next for the Tigers: Facing the Texas Rangers

Continuing their home stretch, the Detroit Tigers gear up for a four-game series starting Monday against the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers. Last year, the Tigers had a mixed record of 3-4 against Texas, including losing two out of three games at Comerica Park. However, Detroit has claimed the season series against the Rangers in two of the past three years.

For the upcoming matchups, the Tigers have announced their starting pitchers:

  • Monday 4/15: Right-hander Reese Olson (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will take the mound.
  • Tuesday 4/16: Right-hander Casey Mize (0-0, 4.82 ERA) is scheduled to pitch.
  • Wednesday 4/17: Left-hander Tarik Skubal (2-0, 2.08 ERA), coming off strong early-season performances, will start.
  • Thursday 4/18: Right-hander Kenta Maeda (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will close out the series.


For more from our Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Brian Bradshaw Sevald – USA TODAY Sports