Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario homered off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth, and the Minnesota Twins scored three runs in the inning to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Wednesday.
Detroit wasted a fine start by Justin Verlander, who gave up a run and two hits in eight innings. Rodriguez (1-1) retired the first two batters of the ninth before Kepler sent a drive to right field to break the 1-all tie.
Rodriguez then made a throwing error and appeared to be shaken up, but after a conference at the mound he stayed in the game and allowed a two-run shot by Rosario.
Ryan Pressly (3-5) earned the win in relief, and Brandon Kintzler pitched the ninth for his sixth save.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler homered in the first inning, and that was all the scoring until the ninth.
The last-place Twins took two of three from the playoff-chasing Tigers, with Detroit managing only four runs in the series.
Verlander struck out nine and walked two. Minnesota’s Ervin Santana allowed one run and six hits in seven-plus innings.
Santana hadn’t allowed a homer since June 19, but Kinsler sent his first pitch of the game over the fence in left, tying the score at 1. The Tigers had only one more baserunner through five innings, then squandered opportunities in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.
Detroit had runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth when Cameron Maybin hit into a double play. The Tigers had men on second and third in the seventh when James McCann flied out to end the inning. With two on and two out in the eighth, Victor Martinez sent a drive to left-center, but Rosario made a running catch before bouncing off the wall.
Detroit had two hits in the ninth but didn’t score.
There was a delay in the seventh when a fan ran onto the field and eluded security for a while. He eventually stopped around the edge of the infield and was tackled.