Jorge López gets 1st save with Twins in 4-1 win over Tigers

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MINNEAPOLIS — Trade acquisition Jorge Lopez earned his first save with his new team, newcomer Sandy Leon drove in two runs and the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1.

Carlos Correa and Gio Urshela added RBIs for the Twins, whose lead in the American League Central remains one game over Cleveland.

Entering to a nice ovation, Lopez, an All-Star acquired Tuesday from Baltimore, earned his 20th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

“It’s a time where to just even think about being here, being in that spot, to be in first, it’s just fun. Really fun to watch these guys daily. I love it,” Lopez said.

He needed just seven pitches, including a three-pitch strikeout of Eric Haase.

“I love to go out there, be quick. If it’s not, we battle,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s outing came after Minnesota starter Joe Ryan bounced back from a career-worst outing with five mostly solid innings. Michael Fulmer then pitched a scoreless inning in his Twins debut against the team from which he was traded Tuesday, before Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran each tossed a scoreless frame.

“We saw some guys with some electric stuff. They made good pitches. They threw the ball the way they wanted to,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We saw some elite sliders from Fulmer. We saw Lopez go out and have as dominant and clean of an inning as you want to see. It’s exciting to turn the ball over to those guys, let them do their thing out there. But that’s really good looking stuff from our bullpen and Joe Ryan.”

Rocked on Saturday in San Diego, allowing 10 earned runs and five home runs in 4 2/3 innings, Ryan (8-4) tied a season high with nine strikeouts – also April 27 vs. Detroit – and allowed three hits as he again dominated the Tigers. In three 2022 starts against Detroit, Ryan is 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.

He hit two batters in the fifth before Riley Greene‘s RBI single.

“Didn’t really have a good feel for my changeup, which was working last time, so I think they were probably sitting on that a little more because it worked so well last time. Just getting after it, attacking hitters,” Ryan said.

Acquired Tuesday from Cleveland, Leon had two hits, including a two-run double in the second for Minnesota. He had two hits in 15 at-bats for the Guardians this season, spending much of the year in the minors.

A Correa line drive in the sixth nearly hit Byron Buxton near second base but got through as the speedy Buxton raced home.

Harold Castro had three of Detroit’s four hits.

Detroit struck out 14 times Wednesday, 41 times in the three-game series, and has whiffed 148 times in 17 games against Minnesota this season.

“He beat us, Joe Ryan did today, with fastballs in the zone. It’s one thing when you chase, it’s another when you get beat in the zone,” said manager A.J. Hinch. “… When you swing and miss like that, it’s hard to produce offensively. ”

Making his second straight start after two months in the bullpen, Tyler Alexander (2-5) was the hard-luck loser, allowing two hits and striking out five in five innings. He retired the Twins in order in four of those frames.

UNDER THE SUN

Detroit has played 53-day games, the most in baseball, and 52 night games. This was Minnesota’s 48th day game, tied with the White Sox for fourth most in the majors. Cleveland has played 51 and Oakland 50.

ROSTER MOVES

Both teams made a quartet of moves before the game. Minnesota made another after.

Detroit placed LHP Tarik Skubal (left arm fatigue) on the 15-day injured list retroactive to Tuesday, and reinstated RHP Wily Peralta (strained left hamstring) from the IL. The Tigers also optioned IF Zack Short to Triple-A Toledo and recalled OF Daz Cameron from the Mud Hens.

For Minnesota, Thielbar (left hamstring strain) was reinstated from the 15-day IL. The contract of Leon was selected from Triple-A St. Paul. RHP Joe Smith was designated for assignment and C Caleb Hamilton was optioned to St. Paul.

LHP Jovani Moran will be optioned to St. Paul to make room for starter Tyler Mahle, acquired Tuesday from Cincinnati. Mahle is to be activated tomorrow.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: In a 0-for-19 skid, DH Miguel Cabrera did not play. Hinch said Cabrera’s right knee is bothersome, and he plans to give the 39-year-old a few more scheduled days off the rest of the season.

Twins: Buxton went 1 for 3 as the team’s DH after sitting the past two days with a sore right knee that was thoroughly evaluated Tuesday by trainers.

UP NEXT

Tigers: Welcome Tampa Bay on Thursday for the first of four games. Detroit’s Drew Hutchison (1-4, 4.53) is scheduled to oppose Rays LHP Jeffrey Springs (3-3, 2.70).

Twins: RHP Sonny Gray (6-3, 3.41) is to pitch Thursday when Minnesota starts a four-game home series with Toronto. Alek Manoah (11-5, 2.43) is the Blue Jays scheduled starter.

AP source: Nimmo staying with Mets on $162M, 8-year deal

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the free-spending New York Mets, agreeing to a $162 million, eight-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday night because the agreement is subject to a successful physical and no announcement had been made.

A quality leadoff hitter with an excellent eye and a .385 career on-base percentage, Nimmo became a free agent last month for the first time. He was a key performer as the Mets returned to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.

The left-handed hitter batted .274 with 16 homers and a team-high 102 runs, a career high. He also set career bests with 64 RBIs and 151 games played. His seven triples tied for most in the National League.

Bringing back Nimmo means New York is poised to return its entire everyday lineup intact from a team that tied for fifth in the majors in runs and won 101 regular-season games – second-most in franchise history.

But the Mets remain busy replenishing a pitching staff gutted by free agency, including Jacob deGrom‘s departure for Texas and Taijuan Walker‘s deal with Philadelphia that was pending a physical.

On the final day of baseball’s winter meetings Wednesday, the Mets completed an $86.7 million, two-year contract with former Houston ace Justin Verlander that includes a conditional $35 million player option for 2025. New York also retained All-Star closer Edwin Diaz last month with a $102 million, five-year contract, and the team has a $26 million, two-year agreement in place with veteran starter Jose Quintana, pending a physical.

Those moves add to a payroll that was the largest in the majors last season. Under owner Steve Cohen, who bought the Mets in November 2020, New York became baseball’s biggest spender this year for the first time since 1989. The Mets’ payroll was $273.9 million as of Aug. 31, with final figures that include bonuses yet to be compiled.

Nimmo was selected by New York with the No. 13 pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He declined a $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Mets last month.

The 29-year-old Wyoming native made his big league debut in 2016. He is a .269 career hitter with 63 homers, 213 RBIs and 23 triples in 608 games. He has an .827 career OPS and has improved his play in center, becoming a solid defender.

Nimmo’s new deal with the Mets was first reported by the New York Post.