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Casey Mize throws 6 shutout innings for 1st win since 2021 as Tigers beat Twins 6-1

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Casey Mize throws 6 shutout innings for 1st win since 2021 as Tigers beat Twins 6-1
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Casey Mize throws 6 shutout innings for 1st win since 2021 as Tigers beat Twins 6-1

2024-04-22 06:26 Last Updated At:06:30

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Casey Mize pitched six scoreless innings for his major league win since 2021, and Buddy Kennedy homered and drove in three runs as the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Sunday.

Spencer Torkelson had two hits, scored twice and knocked in two runs. Riley Greene scored three times for the Tigers, who improved to 8-3 on the road.

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Louie Varland delivers during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Casey Mize pitched six scoreless innings for his major league win since 2021, and Buddy Kennedy homered and drove in three runs as the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Sunday.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Louie Varland (37) reacts after a two-run home run by Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins pitcher Louie Varland (37) reacts after a two-run home run by Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins' Austin Martin runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins' Austin Martin runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy, right, celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy, right, celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo (49) and catcher Jake Rogers, right, shake hands after their win over the Minnesota Twins of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo (49) and catcher Jake Rogers, right, shake hands after their win over the Minnesota Twins of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Kerry Carpenter (30) hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Kerry Carpenter (30) hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Mize (1-0) gave up five hits, walked three and struck out four in his first victory since Aug. 24, 2021, at St. Louis. The top pick in the 2018 amateur draft missed nearly all of the past two seasons because of Tommy John surgery and a back operation.

“I always want the guys to think that they can win when I pitch,” Mize said. “My stuff wasn’t great, but ‘compete’ was probably the biggest word of the day. I was just trying to get outs with what I had.”

The Twins have lost six of seven and are hitting .195, the second-worst batting average in the big leagues.

“We’ve got some guys who took their shirts off and their jerseys off and they’re in (the cage) hitting right now,” manager Rocco Baldelli said after the game. “That kind of tells you the way things are going at the moment. They’re not going the way we want.”

Minnesota rookie Austin Martin led off the ninth with his first career home run, connecting off Alex Faedo to spoil the shutout.

Twins right-hander Louie Varland (0-4) was wild from the start. He walked the first two batters he faced and, after getting a groundout, gave up a single and another walk. Kerry Carpenter’s base hit and Kennedy’s sacrifice fly drove in runs to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

“I didn’t have much feel for many pitches that first inning and tried to adjust,” said Varland, who needed 39 pitches to get through the first. “I adjusted, threw more strikes, but my stuff wasn’t as sharp or as good.”

Mize had an early bout of wildness as well, walking two of the first four hitters he faced, but he retired Martin on a lineout and Willi Castro on a flyout to leave the bases loaded in the first.

“It was just a battle from pitch one,” Mize said. “Long inning in the top half ... (but) if I leave the game and there’s a zero in the run column, it’s hard not to be happy with that.”

Varland pitched around a leadoff walk in the second, but didn’t make it out of the third inning. Torkelson led off with a single, and Varland hit Carpenter with a pitch to put two runners on.

A double play put Varland on the verge of pitching out of trouble, but he left a cutter over the middle to Kennedy, who deposited it in the left-field stands for a two-run homer. That ended Varland’s day and perhaps his current stint as the Twins’ No. 5 starter, as his ERA climbed to 9.18 through four starts this year.

“It’s everything I asked for, I trained for this offseason,” said Varland, who lobbied for a return to the rotation after a successful run in the bullpen late last season. “Going into camp I had the opportunity right in front of me and it’s just not ideal how it’s been going.”

The Tigers tacked on single runs with Torkelson's RBI double in the seventh and his sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Tyler Holton worked two hitless innings in relief of Mize.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP Tarik Skubal (2-0, 2.28 ERA) will go for his seventh straight victory when Detroit plays Monday night at Tampa Bay. Skubal hasn’t lost since Aug. 29, 2023.

Twins: RHP Chris Paddack (0-1, 8.36) takes the mound as Minnesota opens a four-game series at home against the White Sox.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Louie Varland delivers during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Louie Varland delivers during the third inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins pitcher Louie Varland (37) reacts after a two-run home run by Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins pitcher Louie Varland (37) reacts after a two-run home run by Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins' Austin Martin runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Minnesota Twins' Austin Martin runs the bases after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy, right, celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Buddy Kennedy, right, celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo (49) and catcher Jake Rogers, right, shake hands after their win over the Minnesota Twins of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers pitcher Alex Faedo (49) and catcher Jake Rogers, right, shake hands after their win over the Minnesota Twins of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Kerry Carpenter (30) hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers' Kerry Carpenter (30) hits an RBI single during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize delivers during the second inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

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NFL's accelerator program gives minority coaches optimism that new system works

2024-05-22 08:47 Last Updated At:08:50

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Getting lessons on how to manage a crisis and deal with the media will help Houston quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson and New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka when and if they interview for NFL head coaching jobs.

That's exactly what the NFL 's coach accelerator program is designed to do.

This three-day program coincides with the league's spring meetings, which end Wednesday. Their current teams also are starting the third and final phase of the offseason, which kept the 28 assistant coaches very busy.

“We're ball coaches, so it's kind of funny,” Johnson said Tuesday. “We had a 15-minute break in the sessions, and almost every coach pulled up their iPad, was checking OTAs film and sending notes.”

This is the NFL's fifth accelerator program since 2022 designed to put minority candidates for head coach, general manager and other front office jobs with the people who make hiring decisions — team owners. The previous program was held last December for front office and GM candidates.

This session included a former NFL head coach in Brian Flores, whose lawsuit against the league and three teams currently is working through federal court.

Former Stanford coach David Shaw also is among the 28 coaches attending with this the first session for 19 of them.

Optimism is even higher after four minority coaches were hired this offseason to bring the number of coaches of color for the 2024 season to nine. That's the most in league history. The NFL now has six Black head coaches, including Johnson's boss DeMeco Ryans coming off his first season in Houston.

Johnson thanked the Texans' organization for seeing the value in the program and giving him the time to take part.

“It's something that you can’t put a price tag on it man,” Johnson said. “It’s a great opportunity to grow and meet other coaches and interact with owners and whatnot. So I really appreciate the program.”

The accelerator program is an extension of the Rooney Rule, originally created in 2003. Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney II said they're pleased with the progress.

“We’re not where we want to be, not where we need to be,” Rooney said. "But, I think we are seeing the commitment across the league to making a difference here.”

The NFL also announced Tuesday on the first day of the league's spring meeting a new program called “NFL Source” to expand its commitment to diversity among suppliers.

The program developed over the past three years will standardize how the league and its teams connect with businesses, specifically to create a level playing field for businesses run by women, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities or LGBTQ+ to compete and get contracts.

Atlanta owner Arthur Blank hired one of the four minority coaches this offseason in Raheem Morris.

Blank noted his franchise has been committed for years to expanding opportunities, exceeding a goal using almost 40% minority representatives in building Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

This program will help the NFL and its teams have access to certified suppliers.

"We have to make sure we have the discipline to follow all of that, and we’re anxious to be part of the program going forward,” Blank said.

The NFL also announced the renewal of 10 grants approved recently by the Player-Owner Social Justice Committee as part of the league's Inspire Change social justice initiative.

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

The NFL's senior vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson speaks during a news conference at the football league's owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

The NFL's senior vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson speaks during a news conference at the football league's owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Tennessee Titans Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors Kenneth Adams IV attends the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Tennessee Titans Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors Kenneth Adams IV attends the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis arrives for the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis arrives for the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson arrives for the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson arrives for the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Arthur Rooney II speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Arthur Rooney II speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Kafka is participating in the league's coach accelerator program. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners' spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Kafka is participating in the league's coach accelerator program. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson is participating in the league's coach accelerator program designed to promote minority head coaching candidates. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson speaks during a news conference at the NFL football owners spring meetings Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson is participating in the league's coach accelerator program designed to promote minority head coaching candidates. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

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