Norris pitches well in return; Tigers win in 12 innings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ian Krol wasn’t going to let a little bit of fatigue stop him from locking down a win and helping the Detroit Tigers play the spoiler role against their division rival.

Krol, the ninth Tigers pitcher, recorded the game’s final nine outs while allowing only one walk in Detroit’s 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in a back-and-forth 12-inning game Wednesday night.

Ian Kinsler’s two-out RBI single preceded a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the top of the 12th to push the Tigers to a series victory over the playoff-hopeful Twins.

"It was a lot of fun, but it was also very exhausting," Krol said. "I’m glad we got a W. Everybody on the team had their chance and we all put it together."

Stuff has never been an issue for Krol (2-3). Command has.

Wednesday’s outing lowered the lefty’s ERA from 6.45 to 5.68.

"I’m hoping it might be a little turning point for him," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

The turning point in the Wednesday’s marathon game came when Krol relieved Jose Valdez with runners on first and second and nobody out.

After falling behind 3-0 to Joe Mauer, Krol worked his way back to a full count and got Mauer to ground out to second base.

"That was definitely a confidence-booster," Krol said. "The whole outing changes for me the rest of the time I’m out there if I don’t get that out."

The first pitch was delayed 56 minutes because of rain, and the game finally ended at 12:23 a.m. local time.

Martinez’s homer, his 37th, off Brian Duensing (4-1) made a loud clanking noise that echoed throughout the mostly empty stadium when it reached the bleachers in left field.

Detroit scored twice off Twins’ closer Kevin Jepsen in the ninth to grab a 3-2 lead before Bruce Rondon blew his third save in the bottom of the inning.

The Tigers were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, but that didn’t stop them from trying to ruin Minnesota’s wild-card hopes.

"We come to the ballpark to win games, no matter what the standings say," catcher James McCann said.

NORRIS SHARP

Daniel Norris was activated off the DL before the game and only allowed a third-inning homer to Eddie Rosario in a condensed outing. Norris, one of the top prospects in baseball who joined the Tigers in the David Price trade, threw just 47 pitches.

MIGGY’S SLUMPING

Ausmus didn’t start 1B Miguel Cabrera, with the two-time AL MVP mired in a slump. Cabrera, hitting .336, began the day with a 15-point lead in the race for his fifth AL batting title, but struck out in an eighth-inning pinch-hitting appearance and is now 0 for his last 20.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: Nick Castellanos was scratched from the original lineup due to tightness in his left groin. He was replaced at 3B by Marte, who batted sixth with Collins moving up one slot. … RHP Anibal Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida, where an MRI showed no structural damage to his shoulder. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection.

UP NEXT

Tigers: After a day off Thursday, Detroit returns home to host division-leading Kansas City. RHP Justin Verlander (3-8, 3.58 ERA) pitches Friday for the Tigers, opposite RHP Johnny Cueto (9-12, 3.47 ERA) of the Royals.