The Tigers avoided reaching the infamous milestone on Saturday as they ralled from an eight-run deficit to beat Minnesota 9-8 on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday night.
Detroit is still in danger of matching the modern major league record of 120 losses set by the expansion Mets (40-120).
“We’re not the worst team in baseball, no matter what,” Carlos Pena said. “We’re going to have a better winning percentage than the Mets, and we won’t beat their record. You’ve got to compare apples with apples, not apples with oranges, OK? They played 160 games and we’ll play 162.”
The Tigers’ comeback was their largest since June 20, 1965, when they trailed Kansas City 8-0 in the first game of a doubleheader before winning 12-8, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
After a season filled with losing under Trammell, the Tigers suddenly have turned tough—just when it seemed they would own a record that nobody wanted.
Detroit won for the fourth time in five games. This victory came against the AL Central champion Twins, who started eight regulars but pulled all of them before the eighth inning.
“We’re not out to try to make them break any records, but we’re just trying to take care of ourselves,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Our goal is not to get anybody hurt, but also play the games.”
STANDINGS: Twins - 1st place, AL Central. Tigers - 5th place, 48 GB, AL Central.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kyle Lohse (14-11, 4.64 ERA). Lohse, Minnesota’s likely Game 3 starter in the division series, did not figure in the Twins 3-2 win over the Indians on Tuesday. He allowed one run and four hits in six innings but fell short of his 15th win. He is 5-1 with a 4.29 ERA in seven career starts against Detroit.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Mike Maroth (8-21, 5.81 ERA). Maroth earned the victory in his last start, a 15-6 win over Kansas City, going five innings for the Tigers’ first win since he beat the Royals 3-0 on Sept. 12. He allowed six runs—five earned—and 10 hits for his second win in September. He is 1-4 with a 4.26 ERA in five career starts against the Twins.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - A. J. Pierzynski, .312 avg.; Torii Hunter, 26 HRs and 101 RBIs; Shannon Stewart, 88 runs; Cristian Guzman, 18 SBs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .294 avg., 29 HRs, 83 RBIs and 76 runs; Alex Sanchez, 40 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Twins, 15-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - Even if they lose the season’s final game, the Twins are assured of finishing with the best post-All-Star record in team history. Minnesota is 46-22 since the break, well ahead of the team record of 49-28 mark in 1966. … 1B Doug Mientkiewicz returned to the lineup Saturday after sitting out three games to rest a sore wrist. Tigers - DH Young’s fifth-inning homer on Saturday was the 40th this season to clear the new, shorter fence in left field without clearing the old one. Tigers players have hit 19, led by six from OF Craig Monroe and five by Young. … The Tigers announced Saturday that OF Cody Ross was named the organization’s minor league hitter of the year, while RHP Jon Connolly won the pitching award. Ross hit .287 with 20 homers for Triple-A Toledo, while Connolly was 16-3 for Single-A West Michigan and led minor league baseball with a 1.41 ERA.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 42-38 on the road; Tigers - 22-58 at home.