MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Detroit Tigers could use a break.
The good news is they’ve got one coming. There wasn’t much else worth savoring from this series at Minnesota.
Kyle Gibson won his fourth straight start with seven strong innings, rookie Miguel Sano hit a two-run homer and the Twins beat the Tigers 7-1 on Sunday.
After winning eight of the first 10 meetings this season between the AL Central rivals, the Tigers (44-44) dropped three in a row at Target Field this weekend to fall to the .500 mark at the All-Star break.
“Right now it’s a good break, I guess, at the right time. Just going to go to the break, take some breaths and recharge our bodies and just try to finish strong,” said designated hitter Victor Martinez, who homered twice in the series for one of the few highlights of the last three games.
Ian Kinsler had three hits Sunday to give him eight for the four-game series.
This is the first year since 2008 that the Tigers haven’t had a winning record at the All-Star break. They have yet to fall below .500 this season, but they’re at the mark of mediocrity for the fourth time in the last six weeks.
“It’s really not the way we would have liked it to go. We’ll take the four days off. Guys can get refreshed and come back Friday,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Gibson (8-6) allowed only an unearned run and four hits. His ground-ball heavy approach worked well against the Tigers, who hit into three double plays.
The only run against Gibson came in the second when catcher Eric Fryer made an error throwing to second base and shortstop Danny Santana had trouble getting the ball out of his glove on a likely double play.
“He was tough. But again, when you’re down that quickly in a game, it’s tough to come all the way back,” Ausmus said.
That’s because Shane Greene (4-7), who beat Gibson and the Twins 7-1 in Detroit on April 9, gave up seven runs on seven hits and three walks in just 4 2-3 innings after being recalled from Triple-A to make this start.
“My pregame bullpen was really, really good. I’ve just got to do a better job of taking that into the game with me,” Greene said.
Just as with Alfredo Simon on Saturday, the Tigers were trailing by a lot by the middle innings. The end of their rotation has been a problem, negating the stellar work done lately by David Price, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander.
Sano hit his second home run since being recalled from Double-A on July 2. Santana had a two-run triple, and Trevor Plouffe ended Greene’s afternoon with his 11th home run in the fifth.
Greene - in his first season with Detroit - has allowed at least four runs in his last five major league starts. He was sent to Triple-A Toledo last month after losing four straight starts.
The Tigers, who won the last four AL Central titles, are a season-high nine games out of first place.
“Play better, hit better, pitch better, have better defense. If anyone wants to win, especially a championship, have to play better. You can’t win the way we’re playing right now. Simple,” Martinez said.
With Miguel Cabrera out with a calf injury, Marc Krauss has played first base for the Tigers in five of the nine games the two-time AL MVP has missed. Krauss went 1 for 14 in the series and is hitting .127 in 63 at-bats.
Tigers: Ausmus said OF Yoenis Cespedes left the game in the seventh inning because of an illness.
Tigers: Detroit returns from the All-Star break with RHP Anibal Sanchez (8-7) on the mound at home to face the Baltimore Orioles. Sanchez will be followed by David Price and Justin Verlander.
Twins: Minnesota will start the second half with Ervin Santana (0-0) at Oakland. Phil Hughes and Tommy Milone will follow.
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