DETROIT -- After their 12-11 loss to the Tigers that saw them blow a late five-run lead on Saturday, the Twins remained adamant they'd put the loss behind them and moved on.They appeared to do just that with an early 4-0 lead against Detroit, only to see it slip away
DETROIT -- After their 12-11 loss to the Tigers that saw them blow a late five-run lead on Saturday, the Twins remained adamant they'd put the loss behind them and moved on.
They appeared to do just that with an early 4-0 lead against Detroit, only to see it slip away in an inauspicious manner, a fifth inning that saw the Twins commit an error, Ervin Santana throw a wild pitch and catcher Chris Gimenez get charged with three passed balls that scored two runs. But the Twins showed their resilience yet again, as the bullpen bounced back with a strong performance and Byron Buxton came through with a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth in a 6-4 win on Sunday.
Right-hander Trevor Hildenberger, who served up a two-run homer in Saturday's loss, picked up his first career save with 1 1/3 scoreless innings to close out the game, and he was impressed with his team's ability to respond to a tough situation.
"I think it was a big gut check," Hildenberger said. "The way we had been going, the way the bullpen had been going, the role I played in the game last night and the way the bullpen played last night, it hurt a lot. But to come back today to win today was huge -- to win the series, win the road trip and head into a series against the Indians rolling on all cylinders."
It was the seventh win in eight games for the Twins, who already matched last year's win total with 59 victories and remain firmly in the mix for the second American League Wild Card spot.
"Yesterday had a lot of ebbs and flows, and today was similar," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We talked about bouncing back after last night. The guys have to feel good about the trip overall, especially about today."
The fifth inning was about as ugly as it gets for the Twins, with the Tigers rallying for three runs behind Gimenez's defensive miscues. But instead of panicking and thinking about the way Saturday's game went, the Twins hung in there with relievers Alan Busenitz, Tyler Duffey and Hildenberger combining for four scoreless innings after the bullpen gave up six runs the night before.
"It kind of sucks the air out of you, but we survived it," Molitor said about the fifth. "We talked about last night and the whole nine-inning concept."
Buxton, who has been hot since coming off the 10-day disabled list, was the hero late in the game, helping the Twins capitalize on a pair of walks to open the inning. Buxton singled home the go-ahead run into center, and Minnesota never looked back.
Buxton said he's not surprised his team didn't let Saturday affect them, as a team meeting shortly after the non-waiver Trade Deadline reinforced the fact they believe they're contenders, even after trading closer Brandon Kintzler and Jaime Garcia.
"We had a meeting a few weeks ago about playing hard for the next two months and seeing what happens," Buxton said. "That's what we've been doing and having a lot of fun doing it. I think that's carrying over to that success."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.