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DETROIT – You need a strong stomach to watch the Tigers these days. And to play for the Twins, apparently.
The farcical Tigers issued nine walks, allowed 14 hits and threw in an error, a wild pitch and a passed ball for the heck of it, too — and that's all before turning to a position player to pitch the ninth.
Matt Shoemaker didn't need all that help in his Twins debut, pitching almost flawlessly in a 15-6 drubbing at Comerica Park.
Nelson Cruz homered twice, including a grand slam in a five-run second innings.
The only serious adversity the Twins faced Monday, in fact, was in Luis Arraez's digestive system. One day after Byron Buxton departed in the third inning with intestinal distress, Arraez did the same. It got so bad, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and head trainer Michael Salazar came out of the dugout to assess Arraez's condition in the middle of a plate appearance in which he didn't swing the bat.
Neither Buxton's illness nor Arraez's were COVID-related, immediate tests showed, and the Twins believe their conditions are different enough to be unrelated, and relatively minor, though Buxton sat out Monday's game, too. But both players were in the Twins' dugout for the finish of the rout.
Before he left, Arraez singled and walked, then left it to his non-nauseous teammates finished off Tigers starter Jose Urena, four relievers and infielder Harold Castro. Cruz, anxious to play again after sitting out three games in a National League park, crushed a pair of home runs, one of them his first grand slam as a Twin, and added a double.
Willians Astudillo, who replaced Arraez, contributed two doubles and a single, driving in two runs, and Andrelton Simmons drove in two with a broken-bat single.
With all that offense, it was easy to overlook Shoemaker, who allowed one run on three hits and no walks, striking out five in his six-inning introduction to his new team. But it must have seemed like a disappointment to the veteran righthander, who has absolutely dominated the Tigers over his eight-year career.
In fact, though he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning until former Twin Wilson Ramos broke it up with a solo home run, Shoemaker's career ERA against the Tigers actually rose from 0.68 to 0.79. The one run and three hits he allowed bring his Comerica Park totals to one run and four hits in 13⅓ innings.
Randy Dobnak took over in the seventh inning and dispatched the Tigers quickly in the seventh and eighth innings and got two quick out in the ninth. But he kept the small crowd of 7,232 who waited out a 52-minute rain delay before the game started interested to the end, first allowing a solo home run to Victor Reyes, then loading the bases on two hits and a walk, then giving up a grand slam to Tigers rookie (and former Twins prospect) Akil Baddoo. But JaCoby Jones grounded out to end the game.