The Minnesota Twins dropped their fifth straight game on Wednesday afternoon, as it was the pitching that let down the offense for a change.
Despite their third-highest run total of the season, the Twins couldn't pull out a victory, as they fell 9-7 to the Detroit Tigers, allowing themselves to be swept in the abbreviated series at Target Field.
It looked like it would be more of the same in this one, as the Twins fell behind early on a Victor Martinez RBI single in the top of the first, but the Twins mounted a comeback, plating single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead. Martinez then struck again in the top of the fourth with a solo home run to tie the score at two, and they brought in two more in the top of the fifth thanks to a 2-run double by Miguel Cabrera and a single by Martinez. . .yes, again. The Tigers maintained their 5-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, and appeared that they would coast to victory against the struggling Twins.
However, the Twins erupted for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Rene Rivera walked to start the inning, and after a fly out by Matt Tolbert, Denard Span drew a walk as well. A passed ball by Detroit catcher Alex Avila allowed both runners to move up, and Luke Hughes' double plated Rivera and advanced Span to third. Jason Kubel. . .the Twins' best hitter this season by a wide margin. . .launched a three-run homer to right field, and the Twins took a 6-5 lead.
That lead would last all of about fifteen minutes. Jose Mijares came in to pitch the top of the eighth inning, and got Scott Sizemore to fly out before walking Brendan Boesch. The Tigers then turned to their bench, putting Jhonny Peralta into the lineup for Don Kelly, and Ron Gardenhire responded by bringing closer Matt Capps in from the bullpen. Capps rewarded Gardenhire's faith in him by. . .letting Peralta launch a two-run homer into the left field stands to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead. It was Capps' first blown save since taking over the closer's role from Joe Nathan.
The Twins tied it up again in the bottom of the eighth, however, on Tolbert's RBI double that scored Ben Revere, and we went to the top of the ninth tied at seven. Capps remained in the game, and promptly gave up two more runs, one on Brandon Inge's RBI triple, and another on a squeeze bunt by Austin Jackson to score Inge. The Twins managed nothing off of Tigers' closer Jose Valverde in the bottom of the ninth, and were sent to their fifth consecutive loss.
Joaquin Benoit got credited with the victory for the Tigers, after allowing a run and three hits in 1.2 innings. His record on the year is now 1-2. Capps took the loss for Minnesota, and his record is now 1-2 as well. As far as the starters, Scott Baker lasted only 4.1 innings, allowing five runs and six hits. For the Tigers, Phil Coke pitched fairly well, giving up two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. Neither of them figured in the decision.
The Twins will have an off-day on Friday. . .as opposed to the off-days they've had for the last five games. . .and will resume things on Friday night when they host the Toronto Blue Jays. The pitching match-up at this point in time has Ricky Romero (2-4, 4.04 ERA) taking the mound for Toronto, and Carl Pavano (2-4, 6.64 ERA) heading to the hill for Minnesota.