Matt Boyd reached out his glove and snagged Joe Mauer’s liner to the mound.
Looking pleased with himself, the Detroit left-hander flipped the ball from his glove to his bare hand and then threw the ball into left field in a failed attempt to start the toss around the infield.
”I think I made myself look really athletic, and then about five seconds later made myself look like a dunce out there,” Boyd said.
Boyd could joke about that blooper because it basically was his only misstep of the night. He allowed three hits in six outstanding innings, and the Tigers beat Minnesota 1-0 on Monday to hand the last-place Twins another loss just hours after they announced the firing of general manager Terry Ryan.
Justin Upton homered in the second to back Boyd (1-2), who struck out seven with one walk and provided a welcome boost to a rotation that has shown little depth of late.
Three relievers finished for the Tigers, with Francisco Rodriguez pitching a hitless ninth for his 26th save in 28 chances.
Minnesota announced Ryan’s firing before the game, then lost in relatively punchless fashion. Ricky Nolasco (4-8) allowed one run and three hits in six innings.
”We’ve been struggling offensively coming out of the break, and that didn’t change,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”We had a lot of trouble with Boyd’s offspeed pitches.”
Upton’s homer was his 200th.
”It’s definitely cool to reach that milestone,” Upton said. ”I hope that’s not the last milestone I reach.”
Although the Tigers left the bases loaded in the third, Boyd and the bullpen made their one run stand up. Detroit is without injured right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, and the rotation has looked thin behind Justin Verlander and rookie Michael Fulmer.
Boyd, however, has been impressive in his last two starts. He allowed one run in five innings against Toronto in his final outing before the All-Star break.
Monday was the longest scoreless start of the 25-year-old left-hander’s career. The Tigers acquired him in last year’s trade that sent David Price to Toronto.
Boyd’s biggest jam was in the fourth, when he got Eddie Rosario on a grounder for the third out with two on. The Twins didn’t have another baserunner until Miguel Sano’s one-out walk in the ninth.
Nolasco did not strike out a batter, the first time that’s happened to him since he lasted only two innings in a start July 6, 2014, against the New York Yankees.