MINNEAPOLIS – The Detroit The Tigers snapped their 16-inning scoreless streak in the sixth inning Wednesday, as Harold Castro smacked a solo home run to the right-center field at Target Field.
He launched another solo shot in the eighth.
In the 10th inning, Jeimer Candelario smoked a go-ahead two-run home run to straightaway center field on a first-pitch fastball from right-handed reliever Trevor Megill. He also drove in Jonathan Schoop, the free extra-innings runner on second base.
The Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, in the series finale to avoid a three-game series sweep. Detroit improved to 15-28, now 11½ games behind Minnesota for first place in the American League Central.
The Tigers loaded the bases with one out at the top of the ninth inning, thanks to Eric Haase (walk), Derek Hill (single) and Daz Cameron (walk). Manager AJ Hinch called for Miguel Cabrera to enter as a pinch-hitter, replacing Castro in the batting order.
Cabrera, facing left-handed reliever Caleb Thielbar, struck out looking at a 3-2 fastball that appeared to land below the strike zone. After the strikeout, Cabrera expressed his displeasure with home plate umpire Charlie Ramos.
Three pitches later, Jonathan Schoop flied out to the right field to end the inning.
Closer Gregory Soto logged a scoreless eighth inning and returned for the bottom of the ninth. He picked up the first out but hit pinch-hitter Kyle Garlick with a full-count slider to put the potential game-winning run on the bases.
Hinch turned to righty reliever Alex Lange.
Lange struck out Gio Urshela and allowed a single to Nick Gordon. The single to Gordon put runners on the corners before Gordon advanced to second base on defensive indifference. But Lange escaped the jam, as Gilberto Celestino grounded out.
Righty Michael Fulmer, trying to protect a 4-2 lead, loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning because of the free runner, a throwing error from Willi Castro and a single from Luis Arraez.
Fulmer bounced back by striking out Carlos Correa.
Then, Hinch went to left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin to face Max Kepler, a left-handed who has demolished the Tigers this season. Kepler, with the bases loaded, popped out to Spencer Torkelson, who made a running grab in foul territory.
Harold Castro is the offense
Twins right-hander Dylan Bundy entered the game with 18 earned runs in 26 innings, for a 5.14 ERA, across six starts. The 29-year-old carved up the Tigers over 5⅔ innings in his seventh outing, allowing one run on five hits and one walk with six strikeouts. He tossed 63 of 85 pitches for strikes.
Bundy lowered his ERA to 4.54.
The Tigers did not score against Bundy until the sixth, when Castro connected with a fourth-pitch 89.9 mph four-seam fastball for his second homer this season. The ball traveled 381 feet and was hit with a 100.1 mph exit velocity.
Right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan took the mound for the Twins in the eighth inning, aiming to protect a one-run lead. Castro, the first batter he faced, nuked a second-pitch 94.3 mph four-seam fastball for his second home run of the game and his third homer in 25 games.
The ball – hit with a 105.3 mph exit velocity – traveled 423 feet to center.
Wednesday’s extra-innings win marked Castro’s first career multi-homer game. He has 11 home runs in his 256-game career in the majors, spanning five seasons.
The Tigers’ offense finished with four runs on eight hits and six walks with nine strikeouts. Harold Castro went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Hill and Willi Castro chipped in two-hit performances. Six players combined for the six walks, including Javier Báez recording his first walk since May 8.
Detroit’s offense improved to 2.74 runs per game – which is still the worst in baseball by nearly half a run.
Rony García and friends go to work
The Twins used one swing to net a pair of runs – it came from Trevor Larnach with one out in the fourth inning. Right-hander Rony García, opening the Tigers’ bullpen-only game, surrendered the two-run home run.
Ahead 0-1 in the count, García offered a second-pitch four-seam fastball.
It was his 70th pitch of the game.
Larnach disposed of the fastball, cranking the ball 431 feet to right-center field with a 112.4 mph exit velocity. He plated Gary Sanchez, on board after a five-pitch walk.
García allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts across four innings. The 24-year-old, in the third start of his career, fired 48 of 78 pitches for strikes.
For his 78 pitches, he tossed 48 fastballs (63%), 20 curveballs (26%) and eight changeups (11%). He recorded five swings and misses – four fastballs and one curveball – to go with 10 called strikes.
Right-hander Wily Peralta replaced García and completed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. He guided the Tigers through the fifth and sixth frames before turning the game over to righty Joe Jiménez.
Jiménez threw 12 of 13 pitches for strikes and struck out the swinging side in the seventh: Gordon (94.7 mph fastball), Celestino (85.2 mph slider) and Byron Buxton (84.5 mph slider).
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Jeimer Candelario homers in 10th as Detroit Tigers beat Twins, 4-2