DETROIT (AP) - The Minnesota Twins had a chance. They scored three runs in the seventh and three in the eighth before Brian Dozier belted a two-run homer in the ninth to trim Detroit’s lead to three.
That’s when the Tigers’ beleaguered bullpen finally closed the door.
Ian Krol struck out Eric Fryer to secure his first major league save, sending Minnesota to a 12-9 loss Saturday after the Twins got off to a slow start.
“We kept swinging, and they didn’t pitch very well after the starter came out, so we had chances,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We got back into it, and the guys were up and yelling in the dugout.”
Danny Santana had three RBIs and Fryer finished with three hits for Minnesota, which had won three in a row. But the Twins were unable to overcome another shaky start for Samuel Deduno.
Rookie Eugenio Suarez hit a leadoff homer and a run-scoring double in Detroit’s seven-run third inning, and Victor Martinez connected for a two-run homer. Suarez, Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler had three hits apiece for the Tigers.
Detroit came into the game having lost 17 of 24 after a fast start to the season, but it was helped by another strong pitching performance. Anibal Sanchez (3-2) was charged with three runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Sanchez was in complete control before he walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and allowed a one-out RBI triple to Eduardo Nunez.
“He’s just so tough on us,” Gardenhire said. “He knows how to pitch, and he made it hard on us.”
Deduno (2-5) lasted just 2 2-3 innings, dropping to 1-2 with a 10.13 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander allowed seven runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked two.
“Nothing was good today,” he said. “I didn’t make good pitches, and I didn’t get much luck. I just couldn’t stop their offense.”
Suarez started the third with a drive to left for his third homer in eight games since he was promoted from Triple-A Toledo on June 4. The shortstop, who turns 23 next month, finished with three hits and is batting .400 (8 for 20) with four walks and six RBIs.
Suarez’s homer came moments after former Tigers star Magglio Ordonez was shown on the videoboard, receiving a huge ovation. Suarez grew up idolizing Ordonez in Venezuela and wears No. 30 in his honor.
Suarez drove in Castellanos with a double later in the inning, and Torii Hunter also had an RBI double. Martinez’s drive off the top of the right-field wall was originally ruled a double, but quickly became a two-run homer after a replay review.
Kinsler drove in the seventh run of the inning with an infield single, and third baseman Trevor Plouffe strained his left oblique diving for the ball. Plouffe stayed in the game for another batter, but had to leave after aggravating the injury while throwing out Hunter to end the inning.