Lynn admits he blew it in 7th as Tigers rally past Twins
DETROIT -- Lance Lynn could not believe it when Twins manager Paul Molitor ambled to the mound with two outs in the seventh inning after the Tigers rallied to tie a game in which he had been in complete command.
Repeatedly pounding the ball into his glove and bracing to be removed, Lynn listened as Molitor patted him on the shoulder, said a few words and allowed the right-handed starter to try to work out of trouble.
Moments later, after watching No. 9 hitter JaCoby Jones tag him for a two-run homer, Lynn stared forlornly at the left-field fence over which the ball sailed along with his hopes to validate his manager and rescue a victory.
“I pissed it away,” Lynn said. “You’ve got to get out of that inning. You go out there, take it into the seventh with mid-90s (velocity), you’ve got to get through it. I wasn’t able to. Ended up giving up three runs and it cost us the win.”
It was that kind of day for the scuffling Twins.
It has been that kind of season for a confounding team unable to gain any traction in the wide-open American League Central Division.
The Tigers preserved their 3-1 win, taking two of three from the cold-hitting Twins at Comerica Park to reclaim second place behind the Cleveland Indians.
Another passive performance at the plate left Minnesota staring down the barrel of another tough three-game road series, this one at Cleveland against bullying starters Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco.
The Twins were held to six hits and failed to preserve a one-run lead late in the game after Detroit rallied from a 2-1 deficit for a 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
“Similar script to yesterday,” said Molitor. “When your offense is not producing much, everything becomes a little more critical, your margin of error on the mound is smaller. It’s tough to win 1-0 games on the road.”
Molitor had no intention of lifting Lynn when he left the dugout despite having Matt Magill and Zach Duke warming up. He wanted to make sure an irritating finger injury did not prevent his starter from pushing deeper into what ultimately was a 114-pitch outing.
“He wanted a chance to get (Jones), and I wanted him to have a chance to get him,” Molitor said. “And we got beat there.”
Lynn fell behind 3-1 and grooved a four-seam fastball that Jones did not waste.
“Everything was still there; just made one bad pitch and ran into a barrel,” said Lynn, who fell to 4-5.
“It’s professional baseball,” he said. “There’s pressure every day, so it doesn’t matter what the situation is. You’ve just got to make pitches.”
The Eddies — Rosario and Escobar — are the only reliable hitters in an overwhelmed, injury-strafed lineup that is averaging 3.4 runs a game over its last nine, including five in which the Twins failed to score more than two runs.
Rosario’s one-out double in the first off Tigers starter Michael Fullmer set the table for Escobar to single him home for a quick 1-0 lead that accounted for all of Minnesota’s offense.
Miguel Sano took a designated seat on the bench Thursday in favor of Rosario at DH and was summarily demoted to Triple-A Rochester after the game.
Logan Morrison remains a hot mess. He struck out twice, popped out meekly behind first base and is now hitting .187. Brian Dozier was 0-for-4 and stranded two runners; Max Kepler was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.
Lynn was masterful through six shutout innings, scattering four hits and striking out eight. But John Hicks tripled to lead off the Detroit seventh. Niko Goodrum promptly drove him in with a game-tying sacrifice fly.
After striking out James McCann looking, Lynn hit Jose Iglesias with a pitch, prompting the ill-fated visit from Molitor.
“He gives me that opportunity, I’m going to go every time,” Lynn said. “I’ve got to start making better of it, get through the seventh and give us a chance to win.”