Matt Manning’s encouraging start on Friday ended with a walk and a ticket to Toledo.
With the All-Star break approaching, Manning was optioned to the Triple-A Mud Hens after the 4-2 loss to Minnesota.
The Detroit Tigers wanted to keep Manning on a schedule while adding an extra arm — Derek Holland will come off the injured list Saturday — to the bullpen.
Manning, who will likely return for the Texas series July 19-22, showed maturity while holding the Twins hitless until the fifth inning. He made greater use of his secondary pitches, using them to set up his 95 mph fastball.
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“I felt my slider was good and the change-up showed up today,” he said after going five-plus innings. “I was able to get ahead with them whenever I needed to.”
Manning extricated himself from a one-out jam with runners on the corners in the fifth. His night ended when he gave up a leadoff single to Luis Arraez and a walk on a 3-2 pitch to Josh Donaldson.
“AJ (Hinch) trusted me to go out there for the sixth,” Manning said. “It’s my job to go out there and finish the job. … Definitely going to beat myself up on that (walk).”
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The Twins scored all of their runs in that inning. Ian Krol, making his first major league appearance in over three years, balked to put the runners in scoring position and both came around to score on a single and sacrifice fly.
With two on and two out, Max Kepler’s liner to left snuck under Robbie Grossman’s glove and bounced to the wall. The two-run triple gave the Twins a 4-0 lead.
“It was one of those plays where I thought I could catch it,” Grossman said. “I felt I was right there. Came up short and I’m going to put that on myself. … I just keep replaying that play back in my mind and wish I would have come up with it.”
Grossman came up with the only big hit the Tigers had all night, a two-run homer in the eighth. His 12th homer established a new career season high.
The Tigers have scored only five runs while losing the first two games of the series. Tarik Skubal held the Twins hitless for four innings in Thursday’s 5-3 loss and two of Minnesota’s runs were unearned.
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“Our starters have been outstanding,” Grossman said. “We’ve got to do a better job of scoring runs for them. Those are quality starts, those are excellent starts they gave us and we have to come up with something better than what we had the last two nights.”
Manning came up with something better than he had his previous two starts, when he surrendered 11 runs and 16 hits in 6⅓ innings. He can apply some of the lessons he’s learned over his first five major league starts when he returns from the minors.
“Everything is new to him,” Hinch said. “Everything’s a first for him. Everything is putting one step in front of the other. … I think his heartbeat is settling in, I think his head is in a good place. He knows what he has to do to stay in the games and ultimately, win these games.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers’ Matt Manning solid in loss, then sent down