DETROIT (AP) — Jonathan Schoop knew he had the best chance to make history for the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
With the Twins recovering from Wednesday night’s celebration of their first division title since 2010, Schoop was the only player in Thursday afternoon’s lineup with more than 12 of Minnesota’s 299 homers this season.READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccines Saved Nearly 20 Million Lives In First Year, Study Says
Sure enough, Schoop was the one who made sure the Twins beat the New York Yankees to 300.
Schoop hit Minnesota’s record 300th home run, Willians Astudillo also went deep and the AL Central champion Twins rallied past the Detroit Tigers 10-4 Thursday to move within one victory of giving the major leagues four 100-win teams for the first time.
With the Twins ahead 6-4 in the seventh, Schoop lofted Jose Cisnero’s slider to deep left, and a strong breeze pushed the ball into the Tigers bullpen. Astudillo connected off Zac Reininger in the eighth.
“It is great that I got to hit the 300th homer, but this record is about more than me,” Schoop said. “We’ve got a lot of guys with a ton of homers, but so many other guys have hit big ones when we needed it.”
Minnesota was tied with the Yankees for the big league lead with 299 homers coming in. Before this year, the record for home runs by a team was the Yankees’ 267 last year.
The Twins improved to 99-60 with their 10th win in 13 games.
Houston (104), the Yankees (102) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (102) have already reached 100 wins. The only prior years with three 100-win teams were 1942, 1977, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2017 and 2018.
Minnesota closes the season at home against Kansas City, among a record-tying four teams with 100 losses.
“I thought we might be feeling it a little, but no one was dragging out there,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “The guys in the lineup were busting their butts and the rest of the guys were in the dugout cheering.”
Detroit (46-112), already assured of the big leagues’ worst record and next year’s top draft pick, finished 22-59 at Comerica Park and tied the major league record for home losses set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns. The Tigers’ minus-221 run differential at home was the worst in major league history, breaking a mark set by the 1883 Philadelphia Phillies at minus-215, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We didn’t play well at home all summer long,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I always preach that you have to care of your home and play well for your fans. We were terrible. That’s got to change.”
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Devin Smeltzer (2-2) allowed three runs and 10 hits in five innings.
“I’m not a big partier and I made sure to get a decent amount of rest, but I’m still feeling it a little,” he said. “I was laboring a little, but I was able to make the best of what I had.”
Jordan Zimmermann (1-13) lost his fourth straight start, giving up six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Zimmermann started 23 times this season and set a team record for fewest wins by a pitcher with 20 or more starts. Art Houtteman had two wins in 20 starts in 1948.
“I obviously wish this had gone better,” Zimmermann said. “I had a few injuries and battled through some stuff. There were times I shouldn’t have been out there, but that’s the mindset I have. I’m going to be out there every time I can.”
Willi Castro and Victor Reyes hit RBI singles in the fourth for a 3-2 lead, but Minnesota went ahead 6-3 on Astudillo’s RBI single, Jake Cave’s two-run triple and Victor Alcantara’s wild pitch.
“I think when I came up, I wanted to do too much and I was too aggressive,” said Castro, who had his first three-hit game. “I’ve been working on that, and I know next year is going to be better.”
KEEPING THE BALL
LF Ian Miller, brought up for defensive and pinch running duties, got his first two major league hits in his 10th game. The 27-year-old drove in the game’s first run with a third-inning single.
“That ball is going home with me for the rest of my life,” he said. “I knew I was here to run and play defense, so any at-bats were going to be a bonus. I can’t explain how that felt — I’m still in awe.”
Miller has another milestone coming on Friday.
“I’m getting my first big league check tomorrow,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about that, although it won’t be as good as today.”
The crowd of 17,557 raised Detroit’s home season total to 1,501,430, down from 1,856,970 last season and the Tigers’ lowest since they drew 1,368,245 fans during their 119-loss season in 2003.
LaMonte Wade Jr., usually an outfielder, making his professional debut at first base. Wade, who borrowed Max Kepler’s mitt, said he last played the position in college.
Twins: Jose Berrios (13-8, 3.70) will start Friday against Kansas City’s Eric Skoglund (0-2, 7.50).
Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (1-3, 4.99) starts the opener of Friday’s doubleheader at the Chicago White Sox and RHP Iván Nova (11-12, 4.80).
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