DETROIT (AP) — Jonathan Schoop hit a tiebreaking home run in the sixth inning, and the Detroit Tigers finished off a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 3-2 victory Sunday.
Tyler Alexander (2-1) pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Detroit, which handed Kenta Maeda (4-1) his first loss of the year.
Detroit has won five straight to pull back to .500 on the season. Minnesota has dropped five in a row.
“Our goal is to try to get in the playoffs. I said that and people laughed at me, and now all of a sudden we’re back to .500, and now everybody wants to talk about it,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But I’ve been saying that the whole time. Anything can happen in this short season, and there’s a lot of openings.”
Jeimer Candelario also homered for the Tigers, and Jorge Polanco went deep for the Twins.
Rookie Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, pitched an eventful three innings in his third career start for Detroit. He allowed two hits — including the third-inning homer by Polanco — and two walks while striking out four. He also hit three batters and threw a wild pitch that brought home a run in the second.
With men on first and second and one out in the third, a comebacker by Luis Arraez hit Mize in the left shin, then bounced over to third baseman Isaac Paredes, who stepped on the bag for a force. Mize was able to stay in the game and struck out Marwin Gonzalez for the third out.
Alexander breezed through the middle innings, and Candelario’s solo shot in the fourth tied it at 2. Schoop then untied it with his eighth home run of the year.
Joe Jimenez relieved Alexander and struck out Nelson Cruz to end the top of the seventh. Buck Farmer then worked a perfect eighth and Gregory Soto finished for his second save.
“The road trip was a rough one. It wasn’t pretty baseball,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We need to do more to get things going and make things happen. But right now it’s not coming to us.”
Maeda allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out eight without a walk.
Victor Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on Miguel Cabrera’s single to make it 1-0. That was Cabrera’s 2,000th hit as a member of the Tigers. Moments later, the milestone was announced, and Cabrera playfully came out of the dugout for a curtain call in the empty ballpark.
Cabrera hasn’t been available recently in the team’s video conferences with reporters, but the Tigers did release a statement from him: “I am happy for reaching 2,000 hits with the Tigers, and most important that we are winning games. We are growing up as a team and that can be seen on the field.”
Twins: OF Eddie Rosario was out of the starting lineup after experiencing some ankle soreness. He fouled out to left as a pinch hitter in the ninth.
Tigers: C Austin Romine was scratched because of right knee soreness.
Minnesota returns home to face the Chicago White Sox on Monday night. Rich Hill (1-1) takes the mound for the Twins against Lucas Giolito (3-2), who threw a no-hitter in his previous start Tuesday.
The Tigers are off Monday before playing at Milwaukee. Michael Fulmer (0-0) starts Tuesday night for Detroit.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister