MINNEAPOLIS — Max Kepler hit the tying home run in the eighth inning and the game-winning single with two outs in the 10th, giving the Minnesota Twins a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night that tightened the AL Central race to just a half-game deficit behind the Chicago White Sox.
Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver also homered for the Twins (34-22), who have all four of their remaining games at home, where their 22-5 record is the best in baseball. They wrap up the regular season by hosting Cincinnati this weekend.
The White Sox (34-21), who squandered a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 10th inning and lost 5-3 at Cleveland, play twice more against the postseason-bound Indians before hosting a three-game weekend series against the crosstown first-place Cubs. The White Sox hold the tiebreaker over the Twins based on a better intradivision record. The teams split their 10-game season series.
If the Twins don’t retain their division title, they would still host one of the four best-of-three AL wild card series if they stay ahead of the New York Yankees (32-23).
After Jeimer Candelario's RBI single in the 10th gave the Tigers the lead against closer Taylor Rogers (2-4), pinch-runner Jake Cave promptly scored from second base on Eddie Rosario's soft single to center to begin the bottom of the inning facing Bryan Garcia (2-1). Then Kepler put another blooper in just the right place to give the Twins another dramatic win.
The Tigers did their best to play the spoiler role. Willi Castro's RBI single off Tyler Duffey in the seventh gave them a brief 3-2 lead, after they tied the game in the sixth on an error by first baseman Miguel Sanó. Duffey knocked down a bases-loaded comebacker and recovered in time to grab the ball, but his low throw was dropped by Sanó as Castro scored.
Daz Cameron hit two doubles for Detroit, but as he tried to score in the fifth on a two-out single, his helmet came loose around third base and appeared to slow his momentum as he struggled to push it out of his eyes. Rosario nailed him at the plate with a perfect throw from left field.