Gimenez, Austin lead Twins over Tigers, 5-3
DETROIT (AP) — Jake Odorizzi loves the way he’s pitching.
The Minnesota Twins righty only wishes he could have discovered this form in April or May, not September.
In his first start after losing a no-hitter in the eighth inning against the New York Yankees, Odorizzi only allowed a check-swing single in the first six innings of a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
“It is nice to get these good starts, but it isn’t ideal to have them at the end of the season,” he said. “You’d rather do this in midseason, but you also can’t be picky. This is good going into next year.”
Odorizzi didn’t get out of the seventh, allowing two runs on three hits, but he’s given up three runs on four hits in 13 2/3 innings in the two strong performances.
“I think I had better command tonight than I did the last time,” he said.
Chris Gimenez homered and Tyler Austin drove in three runs for the Twins, who have won three straight.
“There are always things to play for, individually and collectively,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You want to win as many games as possible as you wind down the last couple weeks.”
The Tigers have lost seven of nine, including six straight at home.
Mikie Mahtook, who is hitting .288 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 20 games, drove in all of Detroit’s runs. He was hitting .185 on Aug. 22.
“He made a great adjustment with his hands, and now he’s making much better contact,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Daniel Norris (0-5) pitched a season-high 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks.
“I was really happy with my first five innings,” he said. “I was locating the fastball and spinning the slider, and I had a curveball to change speeds. I even threw a few changeups.
“I just started leaving things up in the sixth, which is when I was getting tired.”
Norris was making his fourth start after missing four months with a groin injury.
“This is basically a kid in his third week out of spring training, so he’s not ready to go deep,” Gardenhire said.
The game was scoreless in the sixth when Jorge Polanco led off with a double to left. Logan Forsythe followed with a groundout off Norris’ glove, allowing Polanco to take third. Robbie Grossman walked before Austin’s RBI single to center.
″(Norris) mixed his pitches well and was locating everything,” Austin said. “He threw me a couple good changeups, then left one up. With a guy like that, it is good when he misses up and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
Jake Cave made it 2-0 with a single off second baseman Dawel Lugo’s glove, ending Norris’ night. Drew VerHagen escaped the inning without further damage.
“That’s probably a double-play ball, but we’ve got a young second baseman who took a drop step instead of crossing over,” Gardenhire said of Cave’s base hit. “If we turn the double play, the inning is over and Norris comes out smelling like roses.”
Gimenez homered off Sandy Baez in the seventh to make it 3-0. Austin added a two-run double later in the inning to chase Baez.
Detroit’s offense finally got to Odorizzi in the seventh, with a pair of singles setting up Mahtook’s two-run triple. Reliever Matt Magill struck out next two hitters to end the threat.
Magill pitched a scoreless eighth and Trevor Hildenberg got the ninth for his seventh save, allowing Mahtook’s two-out RBI single.
Miguel Sano played for the first time since a leg injury on Sept. 5 and struck out in all four at-bats.
“He had some big swings and got caught guessing a couple times with two strikes,” Molitor said. “Obviously, there’s some rust.”
Twins: OF Eddie Rosario missed Tuesday’s game and could be out for the season after aggravating a right quad strain Monday against the Tigers. Rosario will be evaluated on Thursday, but Molitor said he will be very cautious when deciding if he will play again this year.
Tigers: 3B Jeimer Candelario left the game with back spasms and will be evaluated on Wednesday. Gardenhire said he expects Candelario to miss at least two games. ... RHP Michael Fulmer will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday to get a second opinion on his knee injury and could have surgery as soon as Thursday. If the examination confirms a torn meniscus, it will be the third time he’s had the same injury repaired since 2013.
The teams finish their three-game series Wednesday afternoon, with Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull making his first major league start after making his big league debut in relief on Friday. Gabriel Moya (3-1, 4.73) will serve as the Twins’ opener for the second time in three days.