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Twins homers can't lift rookie Stewart vs. Tigers

August 18, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's clear right-hander Kohl Stewart still has plenty to work on to remain a Major League starter.Stewart, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 Draft and the Twins' No. 28 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career start on Saturday and struggled in a 7-5 loss

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's clear right-hander Kohl Stewart still has plenty to work on to remain a Major League starter.
Stewart, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 Draft and the Twins' No. 28 prospect per MLB Pipeline, made his second career start on Saturday and struggled in a 7-5 loss to the Tigers in his Target Field debut. Stewart couldn't get out of a jam in the third inning, and allowed three runs on three hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings in a no-decision.
"You just can't fall behind guys like that, can't walk guys," said Stewart, who is expected to get another start. "I've got to give my team a better chance to win. It was not acceptable. I just wasn't getting ahead, wasn't executing pitches. I was one pitch away there in the third, and tried to do too much and got myself in trouble."

It was Stewart's second consecutive outing against Detroit, as he allowed three runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings to take the loss in his debut. This time, it was his command that was off, as he couldn't locate his fastball, especially during the three-run third.
Stewart issued a single and consecutive walks to load the bases with one out before hitting Michael Mahtook with a 1-2 fastball to force in a run. Ronny Rodriguez then jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a two-run double that knocked Stewart from the game.
"It's a learning experience. I just talked to him about, it's not so much executing [or] what you're throwing, it's, 'What are you feeling?'" Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You've got to really be able to seize the moment in terms of controlling your emotions, and do what you do. And it just seemed like it got a little fast."
Right-hander Tyler Duffey, making his fourth relief appearance since his recall from Triple-A Rochester, came in and got out of the inning, but he allowed the decisive blow in the fifth, surrendering a go-ahead three-run homer to Mahtook.
"[Duffey] got the first guy, and that was big," Molitor said. "Obviously, he was not trying to throw a breaking ball where he threw it. Had him set up for it, just didn't get it where he needed to."
It spoiled homers from Joe Mauer, Christopher Austin, Miguel Sano and Mitch Garver. Mauer, who clubbed a pinch-hit, game-winning three-run home run on Friday, hit his first career leadoff shot in the first, while Austin also went deep for a second consecutive game with a solo homer in the second. Sano went deep in the third, his fourth homer since returning from a six-week stint in the Minors.

Mauer finished 3-for-5 and fell a triple shy of the cycle. Austin finished 3-for-4, but the offense couldn't get much going after the third until Garver hit a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Joe Jimenez. Mauer nearly tied it with a deep drive to center in a 12-pitch at-bat later in the inning, but Victor Reyes made the catch at the warning track for the second out.
"[Mauer] really had just a tremendous night," Molitor said. "Even the last at-bat, where he put together a really good fight and drove one out to the track."

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SOUND SMART
Mauer homered in consecutive games for the first time since homering in three straight in Seattle from May 27-29, 2006. He also homered in back-to-back at-bats for the first time since July 24, 2009, when he homered in consecutive plate appearances against the Angels' John Lackey. Saturday marked his 142nd career homer.

HE SAID IT
"My four-seam command was there, but my sinker command was not. It's one of those things as the game goes on, you kind of figure out what you've got that day. You can move from there. That pitch to Mahtook, that can't happen. That's a miss by 3 feet with my best pitch. We'll get back after it; we'll get back on it in the bullpen and get the stuff done we need to get done. It's just frustrating, you know? I had Mahtook 0-2 there, and could have gotten out of that inning -- as bad as it was -- if I execute that one pitch. You know what I mean? That's the kind of [stuff] that keeps you up at night." -- Stewart
FIELD OPTIONED
After going 0-for-2 to fall to 1-for-16 in eight games with the Twins, outfielder Johnny Field was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game. Fellow outfielder Robbie Grossman, who is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring and on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester, appears likely to be activated.
UP NEXT
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (5-7, 4.44 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins in the series finale against the Tigers on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Odorizzi is coming off a solid outing, allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts against the Pirates. Jacob Turner will get the start for Detroit.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.