Detroit Tigers' AJ Hinch steamed over 10 games in 21 days vs. Minnesota Twins

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Finally, it's over.

The Detroit Tigers played their 10th game in 21 days against the Minnesota Twins, coming away with a ridiculous 17-14 victory Wednesday at Target Field to conclude the most recent series between the American League Central opponents.

The teams combined for 31 runs on 31 hits and 16 walks in Wednesday's slugfest.

"We're tired of the Twins, and they're probably tired of us," manager AJ Hinch said. "I am glad the way we responded in the second couple of series. We swept them at home and then a hard-fought, come-from-behind series win at their place."

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Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario waits for the throw before tagging out Twins first baseman Miguel Sano, right, during a rundown in the 11th inning of the Tigers' 6-5 win in 11 innings on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Minneapolis.
Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario waits for the throw before tagging out Twins first baseman Miguel Sano, right, during a rundown in the 11th inning of the Tigers' 6-5 win in 11 innings on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Minneapolis.

All three games were intense, with the Twins taking Monday's series opener, 6-5, in extra innings. The Tigers responded with an extra innings win of their own Tuesday — with another 6-5 final score — to snap a four-game losing streak and set up Wednesday's rubber match.

All three games featured comeback wins, late-inning drama and many surprises.

Sounds fun, right?

Not really.

"I hate the schedule this month for playing the Twins this much," Hinch said. "It's rare. It's the first time in my career it's been this way, so I can't bash it too much, but I don't think it's the best brand of baseball for the competition playing somebody 10 times in a month."

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Before the All-Star break, the Tigers finished the first half of their season with a four-game road series against the Twins, and were swept from July 8-11. Returning from the break, Hinch's squad immediately played three games against the Twins at Comerica Park.

This time, the Tigers did the sweeping by winning a July 17 doubleheader and the July 18 finale. It marked the beginning of a seven-game winning streak, which was halted when the Kansas City Royals swept the Tigers in three games from July 23-25 at Kauffman Stadium.

The Tigers then returned to Target Field for the latest series. They won two of three games, finishing with a 5-5 record against the Twins since July 8.

"It's too comfortable," Hinch said. "You shouldn't be this comfortable in the league having seen these guys over and over and over. It's part of it, and we'll play our schedule. It's a rarity. But hopefully we can avoid that as an industry moving forward."

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Minnesota Twins pitcher Beau Burrows throws in relief in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Beau Burrows throws in relief in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Minneapolis.

After Wednesday's 17-14 win, catcher Grayson Greiner explained the biggest challenge.

"When you see a team's starters two or three times in the span of two weeks, and you see the same bullpen guys multiple times, it makes hitting easier," Greiner said. "Hitting is really difficult, but when you have a better idea of what a guy throws and what he likes to attack you with, it makes it easier. That can be said for both ways, and sometimes you might get a game like this."

The Tigers and Twins meet four more times this season, with the next matchup scheduled for Aug. 30 at Comerica Park — a makeup game from the postponement of one of July 16's games due to inclement weather. The final series is scheduled for Sept. 28-30 in Minnesota.

And the Tigers can't wait to see the Baltimore Orioles roll into Detroit on Thursday.

Because at least they don't have to play the Twins.

"We've seen enough of them until they come to our place for the makeup game," Hinch said.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Why Detroit Tigers' AJ Hinch didn't like schedule in July