DETROIT – You need a strong stomach to watch the Tigers these days. And to play for the Twins, apparently.
The farcical Tigers issued 11 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.
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 because of 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.
"He had some uncomfortable feeling, kind of right in here," Baldelli said, pointing to his upper chest. "It's something that certainly makes you concerned, just because you don't know exactly what it is."
The Tigers' team doctor examined Arraez and ran a couple of tests, Baldelli said, "and there doesn't appear to be any long-term concern. Luis was even able to make it down to the dugout and started to feel a little bit better later on."
Buxton's and Arraez's illnesses were different enough that the team believes they are unrelated, and both appear to be relatively minor, unlikely to keep them out for long.
The biggest relief, especially after the season-opening series between the Mets and Nationals was postponed due to COVID-19 last week, was that test showed that neither one has been infected with that particular virus.
"It's the first thing all of our minds kind of go to, for obvious reasons. Mine included," Baldelli said. "No, we don't have any concern about that at all. Hopefully just some one-off symptoms for those guys."
Arraez was removed after opening the game with a single and drawing a walk, bringing his streak of reaching base to eight consecutive plate appearances, dating back to Saturday. But the Twins didn't lose any offense when he departed.
Willians Astudillo took Arraez's place and doubled twice and singled in four at-bats.
"Willie's always ready to go. Willie just wants his opportunities. He waits for them, patiently sometimes, not-so-patiently other times," Baldelli said. "He had great at-bats today."
Astudillo and Arraez have made the top of the Twins' order the most potent slot in baseball. Between the two of them, the No. 1 hitter in the lineup has reached base 11 times in 12 plate appearances. And for the season, that spot in the order has a .588 average, a .667 on-base percentage, and a .647 slugging percentage.
Dobnak's odd save
Not all the Twins enjoyed the 15-6 blowout. Brent Rooker made his first start of the season, and went 1-for-6 with three strikeouts. Jake Cave was 0-for-6, though he didn't whiff, and he made a spectacular diving catch of a Willi Castro warning-track fly ball.
And Randy Dobnak had a bizarre appearance out of the bullpen. He took over for Matt Shoemaker in the seventh inning with a 15-1 lead, and retired eight of the next nine hitters he faced, bringing the Twins one out from victory.
Then things went haywire. Victor Reyes golfed a low slider into the right-field seats. Jonathan Schoop followed with a single, and Wilson Ramos with a double. Niko Goodrum walked and, on a 2-1 sinker that hung in the middle of the plate, former Twins prospect and Tigers Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo — Dobnak's minor league teammate — smacked a grand slam into Minnesota's bullpen.
Dobnak retired JaCoby Jones on a groundout to short to stop the futile rally, but Dobnak saw his ERA sit at 15.00 by giving up five hits and five runs.
And because he went three innings without blowing that 14-run lead? Dobnak also earned a save.