Kenta Maeda put his hands on his knees, stared toward center field and dropped his head once Riley Greene's homer landed in the seats.
One two-strike, two-out pitch was the difference between a scoreless outing and a frustrating Thursday afternoon. Maeda permitted only three hits in six innings, but the last one was the one that counted in the Twins' 3-0 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.
The Twins, who produced only two hits and saw their lead in the division slip to 3½ games, dropped three of their four games in Detroit and lost the season series to their division rival for the first time since 2016.
"We've had difficulty scoring against the Tigers," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters in Detroit. "They pitched well against us. They matched up well against us. You have to give them some credit. We're going to see them for a couple of more games [next week], but hopefully we can go face some different pitching now."
Maeda, who has posted a 2.36 ERA in nine starts since he was activated from the injured list, spun three consecutive sliders to Greene during their sixth-inning matchup. Greene, the Tigers' designated hitter, golfed the third one from the bottom of the strike zone and drove it 453 feet to center field.
The Tigers scored two runs against Twins reliever Dylan Floro in the seventh inning, stringing together four straight hits, which included a bases-loaded double from Zach McKinstry.
Maeda, prior to Greene's homer, was excellent. He erased a single in the first inning with a double play, and he stranded two runners — a two-out single and a walk — in the fourth inning. Maeda maintains his arm feels better than it did before he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021, and the results back that up. His velocity has been up, and he's touching 93 miles per hour with his fastball.
"All his pitches look good," Baldelli said.
The Twins faced Tigers rookie righthander Reese Olson for the second time this year, but it looked a lot like the first time.
Olson surrendered two singles across six innings, totaling eight strikeouts and three walks. The Twins had runners on the corners with one out in consecutive innings, but both times, Olson used a key strikeout to pitch out of it.
"We just need to put the ball in play, hit it on the barrel somewhere," Baldelli said. "It doesn't have to be a homer or a double. It just has to be in play. But we struck out. We're not going to get much going doing that."
After Jorge Polanco led off the fourth inning with a single and Carlos Correa followed with a walk, Olson kept the ball in the infield with a fielder's choice ground ball, a strikeout against Ryan Jeffers on three pitches and a foul out to the catcher.
In the fifth inning, Joey Gallo drew a one-out walk and advanced to third base through a hit-and-run single from Christian Vázquez. Olson struck out Edouard Julien on a called third strike, and a groundout ended the inning.
Max Kepler hit three balls that were caught on the warning track in Comerica Park's vast outfield, but the Twins didn't have another baserunner after their fifth-inning opportunity fizzled.
"We had a couple of chances today," Baldelli said. "It's not like we didn't have any, but we have to do more with it. That's it."
Olson, who owns a 4.45 ERA in 13 appearances, has yielded one run in 11 1⁄3 innings against the Twins this season with 17 strikeouts.
It was the second time the Twins were shut out during the four-game series and the ninth time this year.
The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.