DETROIT (AP) — As well pitched as this game was, Ian Kinsler couldn’t be too picky about what the winning hit looked like.
His bloop single into shallow center field would do just fine.
“I was trying to get a base hit, find the outfield grass somehow — get lucky,” the Detroit second baseman said. “That’s kind of what happened.”
Kinsler’s flare cleared the infield in the 10th inning, bringing Anthony Gose home from second with the winning run in the Tigers’ 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. It was Detroit’s second consecutive extra-inning game — the Tigers hadn’t played any before losing in 10 innings to Kansas City on Sunday.
Gose hit a one-out double off Ryan Pressly (1-1) before Kinsler’s hit dropped into an area no Minnesota fielder could get to.
“I knew that it was going to get over the second baseman’s head and drop in front of the outfielders,” Kinsler said. “It didn’t have enough speed on it. Good spot to hit it.”
Angel Nesbitt (1-1) pitched the 10th for his first career win.
J.D. Martinez homered for the Tigers in the fourth inning, and Minnesota tied it in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Torii Hunter.
Alfredo Simon allowed a run and six hits in 7 2-3 innings for the Tigers. He struck out six and walked one.
Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson was impressive as well, allowing a run and five hits in seven innings. He struck out six.
The Twins were outscored 22-1 in a season-opening three-game series at Detroit last month, and Tuesday wasn’t much better offensively.
Minnesota looked poised to take an early lead in the second when Trevor Plouffe walked and Kurt Suzuki doubled. Plouffe was held at third with no outs, but Simon struck out Kennys Vargas, Eduardo Escobar and Aaron Hicks to keep the Twins off the scoreboard.
“Simon was tough, but we had some opportunities against him and we just didn’t get the kind of at-bats that we’ve had with runners in scoring position lately,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We have a hit-and-run double, stop Plouffe at third with no one out and then we can’t do anything to get the run in. That’s frustrating.”
Gibson had not allowed a run in either of his previous two starts, and the Tigers didn’t do much against him until Martinez lined an opposite-field drive over the wall in right for his seventh homer of the year.
Vargas led off the fifth with a double and went to third on a groundout. But a flyout by Hicks wasn’t deep enough to score the run, and Danny Santana hit a groundball for the third out.
Vargas hit a one-out single in the seventh, but he had to stay midway between first and second on Escobar’s line drive to left, unsure if it would be caught. Detroit’s Yoenis Cespedes played it on a short hop and threw to second in time for the force.
The Twins tied it in the eighth when Santana led off with a triple off the wall in right-center, and he scored on Hunter’s one-out sacrifice fly.
Minnesota recovered nicely from that tough opening series against the Tigers and entered Tuesday’s game only a game behind second-place Detroit in the AL Central. Even after the loss, the Twins are 9-3 in their last 12 games.
Nesbitt lowered his ERA to 2.70, and opponents have hit .191 against him. For a bullpen that has struggled in recent years, he’s been a welcome addition so far.
“He’s really come into himself as far as wanting the ball in big situations,” catcher James McCann said. “He obviously has the stuff to be that kind of a guy, but he’s really pitched himself into that type of a guy. He’s come out and thrown strikes.”
The Twins called up Hicks from Triple-A Rochester and placed OF Shane Robinson on the family emergency list. Hicks made a nice catch in the third, running down Miguel Cabrera’s fly ball in front of the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center.
Twins: Minnesota RHP Tim Stauffer (right intercostal strain) began a rehab assignment at Rochester.
Tigers: Detroit RHP Justin Verlander (strained triceps) threw a light bullpen session before the game. … Tigers SS Jose Iglesias returned to the lineup after missing four games with a groin injury.
Minnesota RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-1) faces Detroit LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-2) on Wednesday night.