MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins don’t know yet how long they’ll be without the most dependable arm in their bullpen.
Taylor Rogers left Monday night’s game with a left middle finger sprain and is off for a second — and possibly third — opinion. What they do know is that they’re going to need others to step up in his absence and so far, that’s proven a difficult task.
Things played out similarly on Tuesday as they did a night earlier — aside from the end result — with the Twins watching a lead disappear in the ninth inning on a Detroit home run yet again. Two innings later, Miguel Cabrera’s single up the middle off Jorge Alcala led the Tigers to a 6-5 win on Tuesday night at Target Field in 11 innings.
While the Twins ended up winning Monday’s game in extra innings, they first watched a ninth-inning lead dissipate as Alexander Colomé served up a two-run, game-tying home run.
A night later, the Twins had entered the ninth inning with a four-run lead. By the time Hansel Robles was walking off the mound next to assistant athletic trainer Masa Abe, it was a tied game, once again.
Before he left, Robles allowed a game-tying grand slam to Eric Haase, which quickly wiped away a lead that they had held since a first-inning grand slam of their own and elicited boos from the Target Field crowd.
The Twins were not without chances of their own, loading the bases in the bottom of the 10th before Max Kepler and Miguel Sanó struck out and the Twins came up empty. Before those two strikeouts, catcher Mitch Garver was hit on the right wrist area by an errant pitch. He left the game immediately, in clear pain. X-rays were negative, manager Rocco Baldelli said, and he is day-to-day.
The late-inning Detroit comeback stripped away a win from starter Kenta Maeda, who lowered his July earned-run average to 2.15 with yet another solid start after a rocky beginning of his season.
The only run Maeda gave up in his start came in the third when he allowed a home run to former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo. But otherwise, he was economical with his pitches and did a good job limiting damage against him, getting double plays to end each of the first two innings.
Maeda, who had a 5.56 ERA entering the month of July, struck out 36 batters in his five July starts, walked six and opposing hitters had a sub .200 batting average against in the month.
Maeda’s solid start and a quick start by the Twins — singles from Jorge Polanco and Brent Rooker, as well as a Josh Donaldson walk preceded the first grand slam of catcher Garver’s career — had the Twins well positioned for a win that would never come.