Romine plays all nine positions as Tigers defeat Twins
MINNEAPOLIS — Manager Brad Ausmus had his plan set to have Andrew Romine play all nine positions in the Detroit Tigers’ game Saturday night, and was able to check off each spot as the game progressed.
Romine started in left field and made his way around the outfield before heading to the infield. But as the game continued, Detroit and the Twins were locked in a close game and Romine still had to check off catching and pitching as part of the feat.
Starting the eighth inning on the mound, Romine faced Minnesota slugger Miguel Sano while nursing a one-run lead. Ausmus stuck with the plan. Romine got Sano to ground out and finished the historical night by finishing the game at first base.
Romine became the fifth player in major league history and the first since 2000 to play all nine positions in a game as the Tigers beat the Twins 3-2.
“It was getting obviously very close late,” Ausmus said. “I’m not sure I wanted him to face Sano in a one-run game, but he got him out, so I give him credit ... We were already too far invested. It worked out all right.”
Romine became the first player since Detroit’s Shane Halter in 2000 to accomplish the feat. He also had a hit and a walk in the game as Tigers starter Buck Farmer (5-5) pitched five innings with one run allowed.
Shane Greene pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save.
“Once I got done with the circus we had going on, I was really just, ‘Let’s get the save. Let’s get Greeney and get this out and we can move on,’” Romine said. “It was huge to get a W in the process of doing it.”
Minnesota starter Aaron Slegers (0-1) gave up three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings for his first major league decision. The Twins were already set as the second wild card in the American League and it was determined earlier in the day they will face the New York Yankees on Tuesday.
“I think it’s one of those things that has been very rare in the game,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said of Romine’s accomplishment. “He seems like a really good pro and has prided himself on keeping himself around this game by being versatile. I guess that was a way to showcase that.”
With no playoff implications and possible rain threatening Sunday’s regular-season finale, Romine’s quest to play all nine positions in a game became the focus of Saturday. Romine joined Halter, Texas’ Scott Sheldon (2000), Minnesota’s Cesar Tovar (1968) and Bert Campaneris (1965) of the Kansas City Athletics as major leaguers to play all nine positions in a game.
Romine played catcher for the first time in his major league career in the seventh inning. Romine, whose brother is a catcher for New York, had played every position except catcher this season. He was behind the plate for four batters and was charged with a passed ball.
He recorded five putouts in the game.
“It speeds up, man,” Romine said of catching. “When runners get up, man, and things are happening you don’t want to put the wrong finger down. I had nightmares of putting down something and then they hit a home run.”
Slegers was making his third start of his rookie season and first since Sept. 6. He had pitched in only one game, two-thirds of an inning in relief Sept. 17 between starts.
“It felt great, honestly,” Slegers said. “Long toss starting out in the outfield and the bullpen, the whole step of the way, it didn’t feel like as much time off as it was. I was happy with throwing strikes, hitting spots early. Felt pretty good.”
NOTES: Minnesota’s Miguel Sano was in the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 19 after missing 38 games with a left shin stress reaction. Sano started at DH and was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. ... Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera was out of the lineup for the seventh straight game and he won’t play the remainder of the season with a herniated disk in his back. ... Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was Detroit’s catcher in 2000 when Shane Halter played all nine positions in a game. ... Twins manager Paul Molitor made the decision that Bartolo Colon (6-14, 6.72 ERA) will start the regular-season finale Sunday. Colon is 4-6 with a 5.50 ERA in 14 starts for Minnesota. Detroit will close with RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 6.46).