MINNEAPOLIS -- Ryan Carpenter's season has been rocky at times, but on Saturday the left-hander delivered his strongest outing to date.Carpenter tossed 5 1/3 innings and held a red-hot Minnesota lineup to three runs as he and the Tigers topped the Twins, 7-5, at Target Field. The start resulted in
MINNEAPOLIS -- Ryan Carpenter's season has been rocky at times, but on Saturday the left-hander delivered his strongest outing to date.
Carpenter tossed 5 1/3 innings and held a red-hot Minnesota lineup to three runs as he and the Tigers topped the Twins, 7-5, at Target Field. The start resulted in Carpenter's first Major League win and was his longest outing of the year. It was a step in the right direction for a pitcher who was slowed this season by an oblique injury.
"We had to work, and [Carpenter] did a really nice job," Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He changed speeds, he moved it around. It looked like early [the Twins] were gonna be on him a little bit. He made some adjustments and spun the ball really good. He pitched off his fastball a little bit, and he did a really nice job."
Early on, though, it appeared that Carpenter's outing might be a brief one. He allowed a leadoff homer to Joe Mauer, followed by a single from Eddie Rosario and a double from Jorge Polanco. But Carpenter rebounded to strike out Miguel Sano swinging and induced two flyouts to escape the first inning in a 1-0 hole.
Christopher Austin struck Carpenter for a massive solo homer in the second, and Sano stung him with another solo shot in the third. But that was the lone offense against Carpenter, who mixed a two-seam fastball and sharp slider to produce 14 called strikes, and tallied three strikeouts in the win.
"We kind of talked after the third inning and thought my tempo was a little slow," Carpenter said. "You know, [in the] fourth, fifth and sixth, we picked the tempo up and saw a drastic difference in pitch location and finishing my pitches better. So it made a huge difference."
Detroit provided plenty of support for Carpenter, chasing Twins starter Kohl Stewart after just 2 2/3 innings. Stewart loaded the bases in the third before hitting Michael Mahtook with a pitch to force home the Tigers' first run. Ronny Rodriguez followed with a two-run double to plate Nicholas Castellanos and Niko Goodrum and end Stewart's day.
In the fifth, Mahtook crushed a three-run homer off reliever Tyler Duffey to give Detroit a 6-3 lead. It was Mahtook's second homer of the season, both coming during this series.
"A great at-bat and a big homer for us, obviously," Gardenhire said. "It gave us a little bit of a cushion and we had to make it stand up, too. So yeah, he had a good night out there."
The Twins came roaring back in the eighth when Mitch Garver crushed a 2-2 hanging slider from Joe Jimenez for a two-run homer to cut Detroit's lead to 7-5. Jake Cave later drew a walk, and the Twins had two chances to get the tying run home. But Jimenez and Shane Greene produced a pair of loud outs from Mauer and Rosario to end the inning.
Minnesota sent its Nos. 3, 4 and 5 batters to the plate in the ninth. But Greene retired Polanco, Sano and John Forsythe in order to end the game and lock down his 26th save.
• Morris honored at Target Field for HOF career
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Alcantara bests red-hot Forsythe: In the seventh inning, Forsythe stepped to the plate as the tying run with runners at the corners as Victor Alcantara worked to protect a 6-3 lead. Forsythe entered Saturday as one of the hottest bats in Minnesota's lineup, with a .415 average in 53 August at-bats. But Alcantara made quick work of the Twins' second baseman, spotting a sinker for strike one, getting Forsythe to foul off another sinker with his second pitch and then punching him out with a sweeping slider to end the inning and escape the jam.
Jimenez battles Mauer: The Tigers found themselves in a jam in the eighth when Mauer -- who hit a game-winning three-run, pinch-hit homer on Friday -- stepped to the plate as the potential tying run. Jimenez staged a 12-pitch battle with the six-time All-Star, throwing everything in his repertoire as he tried to sneak one past Mauer.
On the 12th pitch, Jimenez left a 96.5-mph fastball over the heart of the plate and Mauer gave it a ride, but the ball came down at the warning track and was caught for the second out of the inning.
"When I managed Joe, I always thought how much the other team must worry when he comes to the plate in big situations," Gardenhire said. "Right now, he's driving the baseball. He's just a great hitter. You just knew when he comes up, something is gonna get hit, and probably pretty hard. You just hope you have the right people in the right place."
TURNER UP, MCALLISTER DOWN
Following Saturday's game, the Tigers announced they will purchase the contract of right-hander Jacob Turner, who will start Sunday's series finale. In a corresponding move, Detroit designated righty reliever Zach McAllister for assignment.
In his lone Major League start this season, Turner allowed five earned runs on six hits in one inning of work vs. the Angels on Aug. 7. He made four relief appearances with the Marlins this season before being released June 2.
McAllister is 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA over 44 appearances with the Tigers and Indians this season.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
The Tigers will finish out their four-game set with the Twins when they square off at Target Field today at 2:10 p.m. ET. Turner will start for Detroit, and will be opposed by Jake Odorizzi.
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.