Two Twins go down with injuries in loss to Tigers
By Betsy Helfand
St. Paul Pioneer Press
MINNEAPOLIS — First, they lost their starting pitcher, then they lost their designated hitter, and to top it off, they lost the game on Sunday.
As the Twins have jumped to the top of the division, they have fortunate that their injuries have been relatively limited. But Sunday, May 12, in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers, Martin Perez had to leave after being smoked in the foot with a Nicholas Castellanos batted ball and Nelson Cruz left with a left wrist injury.
The Twins (25-14) appear to have avoided the worst with Perez, who is day-to-day with a bruised left foot after the ball hit at more than 105 miles per hour struck him. He said he was scared at first but was doing well after the game and thinks he will be ready for his next start.
Cruz, who was pinch hit for in the seventh inning, said he felt it when he swung and missed at a pitch in his last at-bat. He will continue to be evaluated, going for an MRI on Monday.
“(It’s) something that I guess I’ve been dealing with,” Cruz said. “Today was more painful.”
But injuries aside, the Twins had their chances to win Sunday’s game.
Perez, fresh off the paternity list after his wife delivered a healthy baby boy, Martin Jr., on Thursday, surrendered a pair of home runs in his outing. After two scoreless outings to begin the month, the first runs he had allowed in May came in the first inning as Castellanos hammered a curveball, the only one Perez threw all game, to drive in two.
Brandon Dixon added his second home run in as many days on a cutter inside after the pitch right before appeared to be strike three.
That gave the give the Tigers (18-20) a three-run lead, but after that, Perez kept the Tigers quiet, striking out seven batters in his outing until he was forced out of the game in the sixth inning.
“I wanted to stay with my plan. Fastballs in, two-seams out and away, changeup and cutter in when I need it,” Perez said. “After that, it was OK. Everything was going good.”
The Twins, though, couldn’t manage much against Daniel Norris until the bottom of the seventh inning. By that point, Trevor Hildenberger had given up two runs in the top of the frame and the Twins were in a five-run hole.
With a one-out home run, Ehire Adrianza began a stretch of four straight hits for the Twins. After a Jake Cave double, Byron Buxton single and Willians Astudillo double, Rocco Baldelli called for Eddie Rosario to pinch hit for the injured Cruz.
The Tigers summoned lefty Daniel Stumpf, and Baldelli pulled back Rosario to send up righty Mitch Garver, who has been red hot. Garver smoked the sixth pitch of his at-bat just a few feet foul about 400 feet out to left field.
“In the dugout, we legitimately thought — we’re biased, of course — we thought it had a chance to stay fair,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was a good swing.”
The next pitch to Garver was a walk to load the bases, and Marwin Gonzalez, after him, also worked a walk to force in a run.
The Twins couldn’t get any closer than that, though, as they stranded three runners in the seventh and left two more in scoring position in the eighth.
“We hit some balls hard, we had some good at-bats. Obviously didn’t get anything to fall or find any holes, but I was very pleased with the way we swung the bats, (it) just didn’t result in much,” Baldelli said. “We had our opportunities and weren’t able to put runs across early, but we continued at it and had good at-bats later in the game and gave ourselves a chance to tie and maybe win the game. We had chances, it just wasn’t our day.”