- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - Victor Martinez’s drive to left-center field stayed in the air just long enough for Eddie Rosario to make the catch before running into the wall.

Another opportunity had come and gone for the Detroit Tigers.

“We’re in an offensive funk that started before this series, and there’s not really much you can do about that,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We barreled up a lot of balls again today, but they were either right at someone or they ran them down.”

Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario homered off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth, and the Minnesota Twins scored three runs in the inning to beat the Tigers 4-1 on Wednesday. The winning rally came immediately after Rosario’s catch took a big hit away from Martinez with two on in the eighth.

Detroit wasted a fine start by Justin Verlander, who gave up a run and two hits in eight innings. Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) retired the first two batters of the ninth before Kepler sent a drive to right field to break a 1-all tie.

Rodriguez then made a throwing error and appeared to be shaken up, but after a conference at the mound he stayed in the game and allowed a two-run shot by Rosario.

Ryan Pressly (3-5) earned the win in relief, and Brandon Kintzler pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and Detroit’s Ian Kinsler homered in the first inning, and that was all the scoring until the ninth.

The last-place Twins took two of three from the playoff-chasing Tigers, with Detroit managing only four runs in the series. Verlander tried to look on the bright side.

“If anything, I would very easily be able to look at this series and say, ‘OK, well, we didn’t win the series but we pitched extremely well and I think that’s a good sign moving forward,’” he said. “The offense comes and goes. You can’t always rely on offense, but if you can go in night in and night out and your starters can give you a chance to win, that’s how you win a lot of ballgames.”

Verlander struck out nine and walked two. Minnesota’s Ervin Santana allowed one run and six hits in seven-plus innings.

Santana hadn’t allowed a homer since June 19, but Kinsler sent his first pitch of the game over the fence in left, tying the score at 1. The Tigers had only one more baserunner through five innings, then squandered opportunities in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.

Detroit had runners on first and second and nobody out in the sixth when Cameron Maybin hit into a double play. The Tigers had men on second and third in the seventh when James McCann flied out to end the inning. With two on and two out in the eighth, Martinez sent his drive to left-center, but Rosario made the running catch before bouncing off the wall.

Detroit had two hits in the ninth but didn’t score.

STOPPAGE

There was a delay in the seventh when a fan ran onto the field and eluded security for a while. He eventually stopped around the edge of the infield and was tackled.

“It was a rather long delay,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “You can find humor in it, I guess, but I think with everything that goes on these days, my first reaction is get the heck out of the way. You just don’t want to take any chances. I think that was affirmed by the tackle.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (right neck strain) is expected to throw a bullpen session Thursday, and Ausmus says if that goes well, he’ll probably go on a rehab assignment Sunday. … OF Tyler Collins was scratched before the game because of neck spasms. … LHP Daniel Norris (right oblique strain) will have another rehab start Saturday.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey (5-6) takes the mound Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Boston. Steven Wright (11-5) starts for the Red Sox.

Tigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (2-9) starts the opener of a four-game set against the White Sox in Chicago. Pelfrey did not make it out of the second inning Saturday.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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