The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Samuel Deduno struggles as Minnesota Twins lose 12-9 to Detroit Tigers
DETROIT - 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 offence."
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 honour.
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.
Gardenhire said Plouffe probably will go on the disabled list Sunday, and he is also concerned about Nunez, who injured a hamstring late in the game.
Suarez added a triple in the seventh and had a chance for a cycle in the eighth, but bounced into a forceout. Only one player — Cliff Heathcote of the 1918 St. Louis Cardinals — recorded a cycle in the first eight games of his career.
"I didn't know I was ready to have a game like that," Suarez said. "It was great to have the chance at the cycle, even if I didn't get it, but it was more special because Magglio was here. I didn't even know he was until I after hit my homer, but that made it more exciting."
Krol retired Joe Mauer with the bases loaded for the final out of the eighth. He allowed Dozier's homer in the ninth before finally finishing a game that had lasted almost four hours.
"I've never been part of anything like that," said Krol, whose only other professional save came in Double-A. "It was cool to get a save, but at the same time, that really wasn't cool."
Detroit manager Brad Ausmus was disappointed in the last part of the game for the Tigers.
"We've got to be able to finish off games better than that," Ausmus said. "We had to get our top two guys up, and we used almost everyone else. That can't happen."
NOTES: With the homer and double in the third, Suarez became the first Tigers player with two extra-base hits in an inning since Ordonez on August 12, 2007. ... The teams finish the three-game series Sunday afternoon with Detroit's Rick Porcello facing Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco.
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