Jorge Polanco hit a game-ending three-run homer in the 10th inning, and the Minnesota Twins completed a four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers with a wild 12-9 victory on Sunday.
Polanco hit a full-count pitch from Derek Holland (1-2) to left field for his 12th homer of the season.READ MORE: Detroit Police Department To Host Drive-Up Candy Stations On Oct. 31 At All Precincts
Catcher Jake Rogers had given the Tigers a 9-8 lead with a grand slam in the top of the ninth, but Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt tied it with a solo shot in the bottom half.
Tyler Duffey (1-2) pitched a scoreless 10th. Holland intentionally walked Nelson Cruz and retired Alex Kiriloff on a pop fly before Polanco ended it.
“There was a lot going on today, and it ended in a big moment for (Polanco) and the rest of our team,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Rogers seemingly had given the Tigers an unlikely win with his blast off Twins reliever Taylor Rogers, who allowed two hits and a walk to load the bases. Jake Rogers hit the first pitch an estimated 421 feet to straightaway center for his first career grand slam.
But Rortvedt took Holland deep, his second career homer, with one out in the ninth.
Polanco had three hits and five RBIs, while Alex Kiriloff and Max Kepler each had two hits and drove in two runs as the Twins came from behind to win for the third time in the series.
“That was a real character game,” Baldelli said. “You learn little bit about yourself, you deal with a lot. There were a ton of different things that came up in that game, a lot of them made life difficult for our guys, and we fought through it.”
Akil Baddoo homered and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who had won four of their previous five series and were 10-5 in their last 15 games before coming up empty in Minneapolis.
Trailing 4-0, the Twins began their first comeback with Kepler’s 10th homer of the season in the fifth and Polanco’s RBI single in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Twins scored four runs against three relievers to take a 6-4 lead. Gregory Soto, the Tigers’ lone All-Star representative, gave up Kiriloff’s RBI single to tie the game with two outs. Polanco and Kepler each followed with run-scoring base hits.
“We thought the seventh inning was the critical inning, and that was just the beginning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “The back end of that game again was disappointing, but we fought back and gave ourselves every chance to win it. We just couldn’t get the last out.”
Baddoo led off the eighth with a home run off reliever Jorge Alcala, but Josh Donaldson’s RBI double and another run-scoring single by Kiriloff put the Twins back up 8-5.
Twins starter José Berríos lasted seven innings, allowing four earned runs on three hits with four walks and eight strikeouts on a season-high 108 pitches.READ MORE: Metro Detroit Woman Files Lawsuit Against Walmart, Says Discriminated Against By Managers
The Tigers didn’t have a hit until there were two out in the fifth, but by the end of the inning they led 4-0.
Harold Castro’s two-out single broke up Berríos’ no-hit bid. Zack Short and Jake Rogers drew walks to load the bases before Baddoo dumped an 0-2 pitch into left field for a two-run single.
Baddoo advanced to second on the throw home and, one pitch later, he and Rogers scored on Jonathan Schoop’s soft single into right field.
Tigers starter Wily Peralta allowed one run over five innings but was pulled after throwing 97 pitches. Six Detroit relievers combined to allow seven runs over the next three frames.
The Twins completed their sweep of the Tigers by defeating them in much the same way as they had in the previous three games — by wearing out their bullpen.
On Thursday, Minnesota trailed 2-0 in the fifth and won 5-3.
On Friday, the game was scoreless in the sixth and the Twins won 4-2.
On Saturday, the Twins trailed 4-0 in the sixth and won 9-4.
Including Sunday’s rally, the Twins scored 29 runs after the fifth inning.
“Our lineup has really lengthened out and guys have been having good at-bats one through nine,” Baldelli said. “Guys are just coming up big, and it’s not the same guys every single night. We have some guys having good years but it’s not the same guys right now. And when you have nine spots in the order contributing like this … it really keeps you going because you know the next guy might do something.”
Tigers: OF Nomar Mazara, who was scratched from Saturday’s lineup due to illness, was feeling better and available off the bench. … IF Niko Goodrum was scratched on Sunday due to a sore left calf.
Twins: C Ryan Jeffers left in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his left knee.
After the All-Star break, the Twins and Tigers will meet for another four-game set, this time at Detroit. The series begins with a doubleheader on Friday. The Tigers are scheduled to start RHP José Ureña (2-8, 6.43 ERA) in Game 1 and are planning a bullpen game for the nightcap. The Twins have yet to name a starter for Game 1.
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