Rookie Akil Baddoo delivers walk-off hit, Detroit Tigers down Minnesota Twins in extras
Detroit – With two outs at the end of the 10th inning and the potential winning run in third place, Akil Baddoo left the Tigers’ dugout on Tuesday afternoon and headed for the deck circle.
Robbie Grossman, who already had two hits and two RBIs, took on Minnesota’s Hansel Robles, a seasoned helper who has appeared in more than 300 games over the course of his career.
The game seemed easy for Twins manager Rocco Baldelli – put on Grossman and face the rookie who had never played over Class A ball before last week. That’s exactly what happened. Grossman took two balls, then the twins gave him the first base.
Shortly before, Tiger’s manager AJ Hinch suspected the same thing. The rookie, who only returned home in his first place in the Major League against Cleveland on Sunday and scored a Grand Slam against the Twins on Monday, was on the verge of getting his shot in a much bigger moment.
“You could go to Grossie, so be ready for your moment,” Hinch told Baddoo.
Baddoo took the advice and put the ball into right field on a 2-1 pitch, Harold Castro scored for the 4-3 win and started a wild celebration in front of 7,306 hilarious fans at Comerica Park.
BOX SCORE: Tigers 4, Twins 3 (10 innings)
“This is crazy,” Baddoo said shortly after the game, still trying to dry off the water, soda and shaving cream that his teammates had thrown at him in the clubhouse. “I am glad that we ‘W.’ That was a great effort and we have invested a lot in it. “
They did that.
The Tigers (3-2) were far from perfect. They struck 15 times, leaving 11 runners after failing to hold onto a two-run lead in the late innings. But there was a lot to like, from Niko Goodrum’s three hits from the leadoff spot, to Grossman’s production, a brave attack from Jeimer Candelario in the 10th, to some huge pitches from Gregory Soto and Tiger’s flawless defense with a chance to win it .
“A lot of things had to happen to set up (Baddoo) for this moment,” Hinch said. “Candy is on the bat, the battle that brought (Castro) to third base. You decide to go with Grossman on purpose. Our defense the previous inning, Soto goes two innings.
“Well, he gets the last punch, but there were a lot of good punches that we delivered today.”
But really, this was another day to celebrate the growing popularity of Baddoo, the Rule 5 pick of the same Minnesota team that he defeated on Tuesday. He ran the inning beforehand and stayed in the game, which led to his moment in the sun, something that is starting to feel normal.
Of course, it’s his third and fifth game for the team. So who knows where this is all going for the 22-year-old? At the moment, however, everyone is enjoying the ride.
More: Tigers’ Harold Castro adds another line to his multi-position résumé – Pitcher
“Hell of a way to start a career, isn’t it?” Said Grossman. “It’s been a great start and he just has to take it every day. But wow, that’s special and I’m happy for him, happy for his family, because that’s a big deal.
“He set up good bats. He swung baseball well and got results. That’s all you can ask for in this game, and it was fun to watch. “
The exploits in the 10th inning helped eliminate the fact that the Twins (3-2) got a homer in the seventh inning from Nelson Cruz and one in the eighth from Byron Buxton to finish the game at 3. This came after Casey Mize made his first start of the season, cruising through the first three innings before working in the fourth.
Max Kepler led away with a doubles, and after Mize got Brent Rooker swinging, Jake Cave took a walk to put the runners in first and second place. Tiger’s second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a diving game in the middle on a sharp ground ball from Miguel Sano to get Cave out in second place, but Willian’s Astudillo drilled the first square he saw of Mize in the middle to hit Kepler and the To give twins a 1 -0 lead.
“Definitely a good start to the game,” said Mize, who was drawn after four innings. “Loved my things early on. … We really carried out the game plan and I was definitely very satisfied with the way it went. “
The Tigers leveled it at the end of fourth place when Candelario went to open the inning and then scored a double from Grossman. They led the way in race five when Goodrum led the inning with a single, Miguel Cabrera went four fields and Candelario drilled a double into the center right, Goodrum scored and Cabrera moved up to third. Wilson Ramos struck, but Grossman picked him up with a hit to the right to hit Cabrera. He gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead and gave Grossman his second RBI of the game.
Cruz got his third home run against the Tigers in the seventh from Michael Fulmer to pull the Twins within 3-2 before Buxton shot a 451-foot homer from Jose Cisnero to lead eighth and finish the game at 3 .
Soto worked a goalless ninth, then got out of a traffic jam up in tenth place to lead on to the exploits of Baddoo.
“That feeling right there is the best feeling,” said Baddoo. “We won, so I want that feeling every time. I’m going to beat a single over a home run so we can win every day. “