Long after the game, Brian Duensing still wasn’t sure what happened in the fifth inning.
The Minnesota Twins’ starter had shut out the Detroit Tigers over the first four frames, but gave up six runs in the fifth.
”I don’t know what went wrong,” Duensing said after Detroit’s 8-7 victory Tuesday night. ”I threw a couple pitches and didn’t get rewarded, and they started finding holes and then it all started to snowball.”
Trailing 3-0, the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth. Brandon Inge and Raburn started the rally with singles, and Austin Jackson added an RBI single one out later.
”I had been getting a lot of first-pitch strikes, and they came out in that inning and started swinging early in the count,” Duensing said. ”I tried to make some adjustments, but I couldn’t stop it.”
Casper Wells made it 3-2 with a ground-rule double, putting runners at second and third. Boesch then hit a ground ball to Tolbert, but the shortstop tried to catch Wells going to third and instead threw high and into the Detroit dugout for an error. Both runners scored to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
Victor Martinez and Peralta added RBI doubles before Anthony Slama got the final out.
”That’s tough, because Duensing only had the one bad inning,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”They jumped on him early in the count, rolled a couple balls through. Jackson bloops one in, we make a bad play and their catcher (Martinez) rolls one over the bag. Suddenly, they’ve got a touchdown.”
Jim Thome hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and the Twins scored three runs in the top of the seventh, but the Tigers tied it at 7 in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Jhonny Peralta.
After Danny Worth led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, Austin Jackson tried to bunt him to second. Reliever Phil Dumatrait (0-1) tried to get the force play but threw late and wildly to second. Casper Wells then bunted the runners to second and third before Boesch hit a sacrifice fly to right.
”That’s a matter of trying to do too much — you have to just take the out at first,” Gardenhire said. ”When they give you an out, take it and go from there.”
Justin Morneau hit two home runs for Minnesota, doubling his season total, but struck out in the ninth with two on.
”It’s great to see Justin driving the ball like that,” Gardenhire said. ”We were hoping he was going to do a Reggie candy bar and get the third one in the ninth, but it didn’t happen.”
Al Alburquerque (3-1) pitched a perfect eighth to win in relief for the second straight day, and Joaquin Benoit pitched the ninth for his second save.
Detroit starter Max Scherzer allowed seven runs and nine hits in 6-2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Minnesota scored a run in the second and two in the third. Detroit left fielder Ryan Raburn was unable to cut off Danny Valencia’s double in the gap in the second, and Valencia scored on a single by Delmon Young.
The following inning, Raburn allowed Matt Tolbert’s line drive to go over his head for a double. Tolbert eventually scored on Casilla’s sacrifice fly, and Morneau added a solo homer to make it 3-0.
Minnesota outfielder Jason Kubel sat out after leaving Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Tigers with a sprained left foot. He is day-to-day.
NOTES: The Twins have been hurt by injuries to stars Joe Mauer, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan. The list of recovering players has become so long that Gardenhire started playing the theme music to ”Final Jeopardy” on a laptop in his office as a trainer updated reporters. Gardenhire said the plan is still for Mauer – out since April 12 because of weakness and soreness in his legs and a beat-up shoulder – to return as a catcher. ”He signed an eight-year deal to catch in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins,” Gardenhire said. ”So we’re trying to get him back as a catcher. If it doesn’t work out and if this doesn’t work out when he comes back, then we’re going to have to figure somewhere else, and that’s a lot harder than everybody makes it out to be.” … The Tigers were credited with three straight sacrifices in the eighth inning. … Jackson was forced to stop at third during Detroit’s big fifth inning when Wells’ drive bounced over the wall in left-center for a ground-rule double. The Tigers won the previous day’s game when Peralta was allowed to score from first on a double, after the umpires made a disputed fan interference call down the left-field line.