MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Twins got off to a surprisingly solid start to the season thanks in large part to the second-highest scoring offense in the American League.
“I was missing from the get-go,” Correia said. “Balls were just kind of running back over the middle. I got away with it for an inning or so and then it caught up to me.”
Correia (0-3) gave up eight hits and walked two and watched his earned-run average balloon to 7.33, a troubling sign for a veteran pitcher that usually does his best work in April. He was charged with five of Detroit’s seven runs in the third inning that gave them a 9-1 lead and plenty of cushion for Minnesota’s push later in the game.
“You can have an inning where it’s not coming out of your hand (well) and you can regroup,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He just was never able to regroup. They kind of smothered him there in the seven-run inning.”
Correia served up a two-run homer to Nick Castellanos in the second - and probably only got through that inning thanks to a poor decision by third base coach Dave Clark to send slow-footed Alex Avila from first base on a double by Andrew Romine. Avila was thrown out at home and Ian Kinsler grounded out to short-circuit the rally.
Torii Hunter led off the third with a double and, after Miguel Cabrera’s groundout, the next five batters reached base with three hits and two walks, the last one from Romine with the bases loaded to make it 5-1. Hunter added a two-run single off Anthony Swarzak later in the inning.
“The big innings are what will kill you,” Correia said. “You can’t have those.”
Hunter had two doubles and two RBIs and Castellanos drove in three runs run and three RBIs for the Tigers, who overcame a mediocre start from Rick Porcello (3-1) to take the opener. Porcello gave up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts in five innings.
Jason Kubel had two doubles, Brian Dozier hit a solo homer and Chris Colabello set a franchise record with his 27th RBI in April for the Twins. Minnesota scored four runs in the sixth inning, but that only pulled them to 10-5. They forced Tigers manager Brad Ausmus to use five more pitchers after Porcello as they tried to grind back into the game, but the hole was too big.
“Normally a big inning like that can eat you up early,” Gardenhire said.
Correia has normally pitched well in April and September throughout his career while leveling off in the months in between. But he’s allowed at least five runs in three of his five starts, and the Twins starters, which were supposed to be much improved over last year’s league-worst group, have a collective ERA of 6.32.
“I think it’s been different pretty much every time,” Correia said. “Today was just missing spots and getting hit around. A couple times I’ve made an error or we’ve made some poor defensive plays. Every time it’s been different.”