Dozier homers again but Twins fall to Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Kyle Gibson lost his grip in the middle of the game. This entire season has essentially been slipping out of his hands.
Cameron Maybin reached base three times and drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning that gave the Detroit Tigers a spark in an 8-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Gibson (5-8) failed to get an out in the sixth inning, leaving with seven hits, five runs and four walks allowed. He struck out four in his discouraging step back from the career-high nine innings he logged last week in winning at Atlanta.
"Didn't feel as fresh," Gibson said. "Didn't feel as sharp."
Anibal Sanchez (7-12) pitched seven innings to win a start on the road for the first time since the first week of the season, and the Tigers broke the game open in the seventh with soaring home runs by Erick Aybar and Victor Martinez.
Brian Dozier gave Minnesota the lead in the fifth with his 29th homer, a new career high, but Gibson couldn't hold it.
He threw two of the team's three wild pitches in the decisive sixth, when rain started to fall hard and the Tigers tallied three runs on three singles and a walk.
"It's nothing that I haven't dealt with before, but it's always just kind of a variable when you're out there," said Gibson, whose ERA rose to 5.09.
Detroit entered the day in fourth place in the AL wild-card race, three games out of the second spot. The Tigers won for the second straight time following a 3-10 stretch that severely damaged their postseason bid, but Martinez and Miguel Cabrera each had three hits. J.D. Martinez had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active string in the league.
Moved to the bullpen in June, Sanchez was 1-6 with an 8.76 ERA in his 10 turns outside of Detroit until this critical performance to lift the lid on a series against the worst team in the league. He surrendered six hits with no walks, following seven scoreless innings with one hit allowed against Kansas City last week.
Right after the Tigers took command in the sixth, Sanchez needed only seven pitches for three outs in the bottom of the inning.
Barely half (51) of Gibson's 98 pitches were strikes. He was one strike away from escaping the second inning unscathed, after Justin Upton's double put runners at second and third with one out, but Maybin forced in the game's first run with a walk.
"He thinks he can make pitches," manager Paul Molitor said. "A lot of times they're close."
Maybin, hitting ninth as a precaution for his sprained left thumb that had him on the disabled list until Sunday, walked again to lead off the fifth. He stole second, took third on a throwing error by catcher Juan Centeno and then jogged home to tie the game on a single by Aybar.
The Twins have lost five games in a row for the first time since June 14-18.
"I'm holding on the hope we're going to play better and get back on track," Molitor said.
Dozier, who went deep 28 times last season, has the most home runs by a Twins player since Josh Willingham hit 35 in 2012.
"It'll be fun if we see him get to 30," Molitor said. "That's a pretty big number for a little second baseman."
With 20 homers since June 25, Dozier leads the major leagues. In his last 30 games, he's batting .336 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.
Right-hander Pat Light, acquired from Boston for left-handed reliever Fernando Abad on Aug. 1, made his Twins debut by recording the last two outs of the seventh inning.
Miguel Sano was the DH again for the Twins, due to elbow pain, but Molitor said he could return to 3B as soon as Wednesday.
The Tigers will send LHP Matt Boyd (4-2, 3.93 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday night for his 13th start of the season. LHP Tyler Duffey (8-9, 5.93 ERA) will take his 22nd turn for the Twins.