Detroit Tigers snap losing streak against Minnesota Twins in Game 1 of doubleheader

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Detroit Tigers leadoff hitter Robbie Grossman welcomed Minnesota Twins starter Charlie Barnes to the big leagues with a big fly to left-center field.

Making his MLB debut, Barnes served up a slider for the fifth pitch of his career. The veteran Grossman — with 813 games of experience — hammered the offering 408 feet to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The offense was silenced the rest of the way, but the Tigers (41-51) used pitching and defense to lock down a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader at Comerica Park. The Tigers snapped a four-game losing streak, which was handed to them by the Twins in a four-game series before the All-Star break.

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Detroit Tigers right fielder Robbie Grossman is greeted by Jonathan Schoop after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Saturday, July 17, 2021, in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Robbie Grossman is greeted by Jonathan Schoop after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Saturday, July 17, 2021, in Detroit.

Before the fourth inning, left-handed reliever Daniel Norris started warming up in the bullpen. Urena had cruised through three scoreless innings, throwing just 42 pitches without conceding a walk. After talking with athletic trainer Doug Teter and pitching coach Chris Fetter, Urena was removed from the game with right groin tightness.

The bullpen picked up where Urena left off, beginning with Norris in the fourth and fifth innings. He carved through all six batters he faced, struck out two and threw 14 of 22 pitches for strikes. Righty Kyle Funkhouser struck out the side in the sixth inning, sending down Andrelton Simmons, Luis Arraez and Josh Donaldson.

Left-hander Gregory Soto completed the seventh unscathed for his eighth save.

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A better Urena

Before Urena exited, the veteran right-hander maneuvered through the Twins' lineup with ease. Entering Saturday, he owned a 13.75 ERA — with 27 earned runs, 13 walks and 14 strikeouts — over his past 17⅔ innings, which spanned I've starts from June 12 through July 6.

But this Urena pitched much better.

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Besides posting three scoreless innings, the two hits Urena allowed were singles to Jorge Polanco in the second inning and Luis Arraez in the third inning. He worked six ground-ball outs and struck out two batters, giving a flashback to his successes earlier in the season.

From April 16 through May 2, Urena delivered four starts in a row of seven innings. He allowed two earned runs or less in these outings but hasn't pitched as well since going to the 10-day injured list May 29 with a right forearm strain.

Short flashes glove

In the second inning, Short executed a diving play on the second-base side of the infield for the second out. The Twins had runners on first and second base, so a single into the outfield grass might have a scored a run.

Urena struck out the next batter, Ben Rortvedt, to end the inning.

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One inning later, Short made a sharp back-handed play. He tracked a grounder from Arraez, fielding the ball deep in the hole at shortstop and fired a running throw to first baseman Jonathan Schoop. Short's throw beat Arraez, but Schoop couldn't cleanly pick the ball. The play was ruled an infield single.

To conclude the third, Short started a 6-4-3 double play.

Burrows returns

The last time right-hander Beau Burrows pitched at Comerica Park, the 24-year-old vomited on the mound in a 15-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on June 12. He did so June 12 as a member of the Tigers but was designed for assignment June 15 because of his struggles.

The Twins, however, claimed him off waivers June 22. They called Burrows to the big leagues before Saturday's game, opening the door for him to pitch against his former team inside his old ballpark.

Burrows entered in the fifth inning with a runner on first base and two outs, after Barnes completed 4⅔ innings of one-run ball. Schoop singled to keep the inning alive, but Eric Haase popped out. Burrows also pitched a scoreless sixth inning. He threw 20 of 32 pitches for strikes.

The Tigers picked Burrows at No. 22 overall in the 2015 draft.

Goodrum scratched

Before Saturday's doubleheader, shortstop Niko Goodrum was scratched with left calf tightness. He was replaced in the lineup and batting order by Short. Goodrum came back from the 10-day injured list July 7, after sitting out since June 19 with a left finger tendon injury.

The severity of Goodrum's latest injury is unclear.

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: Detroit Tigers earn 1-0 win over Twins in Game 1 of doubleheader