Cron' 3-run blast helps Twins split doubleheader with Tigers
C.J. Cron broke open the game with a three-run homer, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 8-3 on Saturday night to earn a split of a doubleheader.
Cron's line drive to left field in the fifth inning off rookie Gregory Soto was his second of the day - he also went deep in the opener - and it put Minnesota up 7-3, giving Kohl Stewart a cushion. Stewart (1-1) allowed three runs in six innings to earn the third victory of his major league career.
Cron had four hits in the nightcap and went 5-for-8 on the day. Marwin González also homered for the Twins, and Eddie Rosario had three hits and drove in a run.
The Twins jumped on Soto (0-1), who made his major league debut after being called up from Double-A Erie as the Tigers' 26th man. Soto was charged with seven runs on nine hits in four innings, departing after Cron's homer.
In the first game, Ronny Rodríguez hit a pair of solo homers, and John Hicks hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning to lead the Tigers to a 5-3 win.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected from the first game for arguing balls and strikes. Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera was tossed in the first inning of the nightcap after yelling to the home plate umpire from the dugout.
Cron tied the opener 3-3 in the eighth with a homer off Joe Jimenez (2-1), but Hicks followed in the ninth by connecting on the first pitch from Trevor Hildenberger (2-2).
Shane Greene pitched a scoreless ninth in the opener to earn his AL-leading 14th save.
Spencer Turnbull allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings for Detroit. He departed after Jason Castro's homer, which followed a successful challenge that backfired for Detroit. Castro took first base, appearing to be hit by a pitch from Turnbull. The Tigers challenged the call, and it was ruled the ball hit Castro's bat. He returned to the batter's box and launched his fifth homer of the season.
Michael Pineda started the first game for Minnesota and allowed three runs in six-plus innings. He gave up both of Rodríguez's homers and did not issue a walk for the second time in eight starts this season.
"I'm happy because I tried to pitch a quality game, and this was a quality game," Pineda said. "But at the end of the day, I'm not happy because we lost."
The doubleheader was scheduled to make up a game that was postponed on April 12 because of blizzard-like conditions. Rain fell briefly during the opener. It was enough to send fans scurrying for cover, but the game was not delayed.
Minnesota placed Martín Pérez on the paternity list and recalled Stewart from Triple-A Rochester. The Twins added RHP Tyler Duffey as the 26th man.
Tigers: Detroit reinstated LHP Blaine Hardy from the 10-day injured list. He had been on the IL since April 22 with a left forearm strain. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Tigers optioned RHP Eduardo Jiménez to Triple-A Toledo.
Twins: González, who suffered a facial contusion Friday during a collision with Detroit first baseman Niko Goodrum, sat out the opener.
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (1-0, 3.47 ERA) will face the Twins for the second time this year when he starts Sunday's series finale.
Twins: LHP Pérez (5-0, 2.83) returns from the paternity list to start Sunday.