That escalated quickly. Josh Willingham raced home on a sac fly from Trevor Plouffe, and the Twins led 1-0 after two. Samuel Deduno disintegrated before our eyes in the bottom of the third.
Eugenio Suarez kicked it all off with a homer on the fourth pitch of the inning. Suarez finished the game a single shy of the cycle, with his third hit being a triple that bounced out of the glove of a diving Sam Fuld in center field. Ian Kinsler walked. Torii Hunter chopped a poorly-hit grounder over third base for a wet noodle-strength double. Miguel Cabrera singled. Victor Martinez finished with a home run after a review.
The Tigers were leading 5-1 and were on their sixth batter of the frame before Deduno tallied his first out. He also got Austin Jackson to strike out, but put the next two batters on base and enough was enough. Gardy pulled Deduno after just 2.2 innings, and Anthony Swarzak couldn't help him out. Both inherited runners scored, and Deduno's final line included seven runs off of seven hits (two homers), and a pair of walks.
As a starter this year, Deduno's ERA is a bloated 6.52. If he isn't losing his job now, he's not long for it.
Detroit continued to pick away at an ineffective Twins bullpen, and it was 11-1 heading into the seventh. But credit Minnesota for not giving in and just rolling over in the hopes for a better game on Sunday. The visiting Twins fought back for three runs in the seventh, two in the eighth, and Brian Dozier's two-out, two-run blast in the ninth brought Minnesota to within three. But that's as far as the comeback would go.
The Tiger bullpen is in a similar state to the Twins rotation. There's some talent, but it isn't really good enough right now, and this game showed that explicitly. On the plus side, the Twins have some pretty good starters chomping at the bit in Triple-A, and to be honest I think one or both of Trevor May and Alex Meyer are ready to go. And if Detroit can't find a way to put out the flames in that bullpen, the AL Central will be a much more interesting race than we thought it would be a couple of months ago.
Let's roll on Sunday.
- Trevor Plouffe after straining his oblique diving to make a stop in the disastrous third inning. He's been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
- Pedro Florimon will be recalled to fill an infield role.
- Kendrys Morales has hit safely in each of his five games played for the Twins.
- Eric Fryer blooped three hits and Joe Mauer was 0-for-5, because the baseball gods have a dark sense or humor.
Brian Duensing (as the only pitcher who didn't allow a run)