Finally, the Minnesota Twins’ never-ending losing streak came to a close.
One night after nearly getting no-hit by Anibal Sanchez, the Twins snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 3-2 win Saturday over Doug Fister and the Detroit Tigers. Minnesota’s recent losing streak matched the fourth-longest losing streak in team history.
Before the losing streak began on May 14, Minnesota was 17-16 after a win against Baltimore at Target Field. But the Twins went on to lose four straight series to the Orioles, White Sox, Red Sox and Braves. After losing 10 straight, Minnesota fell to 18-27 and last place in the American League Central entering Saturday’s game.
A three-run first inning — paced by a Joe Mauer home run — held up for the remainder of the game Saturday and Minnesota won a game for the first time since May 13.
“It felt good to shake hands on the field again,” said Mauer, who was 3-for-4 Saturday, one day after breaking up Anibal Sanchez’s no-hitter in the ninth inning. “It was a big win.”
Minnesota’s longest skid in team history was 14 games from May 19-June 2 in 1982. The Twins had a 13-game losing streak in 1961 and an 11-game skid during the 99-loss season in 2011. The recent slide was the fourth 10-game losing streak in team history. Thanks to Saturday’s win, Minnesota doesn’t have to worry about matching the all-time losing skid.
One thing the Twins got Saturday to help stop the skid was solid starting pitching, something that was absent in the last 10 losses. Right-hander P.J. Walters made his season debut and went six innings, giving up two runs on eight hits. In the previous 10 games, Minnesota’s rotation struggled to go deep into games and taxed the bullpen as a result. Walters not only pitched six innings but held the Tigers’ potent lineup to just two runs and left with a 3-2 lead.
After Walters went six innings, Minnesota’s bullpen combined for three scoreless innings. Closer Glen Perkins earned his first save since May 9.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said left fielder Josh Willingham. “We’ve lost a lot of tough ones that we should have had a chance to win and should have won, probably. Today we battled and got three runs in the first and it held up for us.”
The 3-2 win in Detroit at least gives the Twins a chance to split this weekend’s four-game series with the Tigers. Kevin Correia takes the mound Sunday in the finale, and Minnesota then has four straight games — two on the road, two at home — against the struggling Milwaukee Brewers, who fell to 19-28 with a loss Saturday against Pittsburgh.
After halting a 10-game losing streak, perhaps the Twins can now build off of Saturday’s victory and string together a winning streak.
“Early in the game, you put up a three-spot and then you just hold on,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s what we did against that team, and that’s a very good team. A huge win for our baseball team. Very exciting to get out from that 10-gamer. Hopefully we can build off of this.”
Ramirez to be reevaluated Sunday: Twins outfielder Wilkin Ramirez left Saturday’s game after colliding with left fielder Josh Willingham in the bottom of the sixth inning in Detroit. Gardenhire said after the game that Ramirez had a sore jaw.
“They did a little test on him,” Gardenhire said. “He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow.”
Ramirez wound up making the catch for the final out of the inning but took the brunt of the collision with Willingham. He remained on the ground for a minute before slowly walking off the field.
“If he would have called it earlier, I would have gotten out of the way,” Willingham said. “It was too late. We had a collision. Unfortunately, he took the worst part of it. But I think he’s going to be OK.”
FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.