DETROIT (AP) — Josmil Pinto was rounding third when he suddenly realized his coach was holding him up.
Then he noticed something else: The throw from the outfield wasn’t heading anywhere near the plate.
So Pinto went home, and the comeback was only beginning for the Minnesota Twins. They scored three more runs the following inning — thanks in part to more poor defense by Detroit — for a 4-3 victory over the Tigers on Sunday.
“A great win for us, when you take advantage of a mistake any time you can get one,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the fourth inning. “Winning two out of three here against this team is good. You take them any way you can get them.”
Eduardo Nunez hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth for the Twins, who had a bit of help from Detroit’s outfield in the late innings. Right fielder Torii Hunter threw to the wrong base to allow Pinto to score in the seventh, and an error by Rajai Davis in left was even more costly in the eighth.
The Twins handed the AL Central-leading Tigers only their second series loss of the season.
Detroit left-hander Robbie Ray pitched six scoreless innings in his second big league start and Ian Kinsler homered to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the fifth. The bullpen couldn’t hold on.
Minnesota pinch-hitter Danny Santana hit an RBI single in the seventh, when Pinto ran through a stop sign and scored from second. He may well have been out at the plate, but Hunter tossed the ball quickly to second instead of throwing home.
“When I started running, I felt something in my foot, and I stopped, and then I started running. When I touched third base, I saw (the third base coach) like, ‘Hey,'” said Pinto, pantomiming a stop sign. “And then I turned my head a little bit, and I saw Torii throw the ball to second base.”
So Pinto kept going.
“Torii assumed, that with that kind of bloop single, the guy is scoring easy,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “But they held him up and he read Torii’s throw.”
Detroit’s problems were only beginning. In the eighth, Pinto singled to left off Joba Chamberlain (1-2) with runners on first and second. One run scored on the hit, and the ball skipped past Davis for an error that enabled another run to come home and allowed Pinto to reach second.
Nunez followed with his single to make it 4-3.
Jared Burton (1-1) won in relief. Glen Perkins got four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.
With a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Victor Martinez hit a line drive up the middle that hit reliever Casey Fien. The right-hander picked up the ball and threw a one-hopper to first to retire Martinez, then Fein left the game with a bruised right arm.
Perkins came on and got pinch-hitter Nick Castellanos on a flyout with a runner on third.
Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno gave up three runs and six hits in six innings. Miguel Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly in the first, and the Tigers made it 2-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Austin Jackson. Detroit had the bases loaded later that inning when Gardenhire was ejected.
With one out, Andrew Romine hit a grounder toward shortstop, but the Twins had no chance to turn a double play because the ball hit Jackson, who had been on second. Jackson was called out, Martinez was sent back to third and Romine was awarded first, leaving the bases still loaded with two outs.
Gardenhire came out to argue, wanting the umpires to award a double play. Third base ump Joe West, the crew chief, ejected him.
“In their opinion, which I was told, he didn’t intentionally let the ball hit him. I know what happened. I think we all saw that he was trying to screen the (fielder). It was going to be a routine double play. Maybe the ball took a funny hop and hit him, but he didn’t have to be there,” Gardenhire said. “My opinion didn’t work, let’s just put it that way. So I ended up in here.”
The play didn’t cost Minnesota any runs. Davis followed with a groundout to end the inning.
NOTES: It was Gardenhire’s first ejection of the year and the 68th of his career in the regular season. … Detroit plays at Baltimore on Monday night. Rick Porcello (5-1) starts for the Tigers against Bud Norris (2-2). … The Twins have Monday off before hosting Boston. Ricky Nolasco (2-3) takes the mound for Minnesota on Tuesday night against Felix Doubront (1-3).
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