MINNEAPOLIS (AP) —Anibal Sanchez allowed three runs in seven innings, which is typically a recipe for a Detroit Tigers win.
But Mike Pelfrey turned in his second consecutive strong start and Kurt Suzuki had two hits and the go-ahead single in the seventh inning to lift the Minnesota Twins over the Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Sanchez (1-3) gave up nine hits, struck out six batters and allowed three earned runs – the fewest runs he has allowed in his three-start losing streak.
“Overall, he did an excellent job,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He certainly put us in position to win, we just couldn’t do anything against Pelfrey.”
Pelfrey (2-0) begrudgingly started the season in the bullpen after spending most of the 2014 season on the disabled list. He struck out seven Tigers and allowed one earned run on three hits over seven innings.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead after back-to-back two-out doubles by J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in the fourth inning. In 20 games against Minnesota, Cespedes is hitting .378 with 25 RBIs.
Sanchez kept the lead before Eduardo Escobar’s seventh-inning double scored Eduardo Nunez to tie the game. Suzuki followed with a single up the middle off Sanchez to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead.
“(Sanchez) kept us in the game,” said Victor Martinez, who went 0-for-4 on the night. “Offensively, we were just unable to put anything together. We only had three hits, you can’t win ball games like that.”
The final 16 Detroit hitters were retired by Pelfrey, Casey Fien and closer Glen Perkins, who worked the ninth for his sixth save in as many chances. Perkins cleared a lineup of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez with three fly balls in the ninth to seal the save.
“That is the heart of our order,” Ausmus said. “All three of them took pretty good swings, they just missed the barrel on all three.”
Shortstop Danny Santana added three hits and a RBI for the Twins. He also made an error that eventually led to Anthony Gose’s RBI single and a 1-0 Detroit lead in the third.
Miguel Cabrera contributed just one hit in the Tigers’ series opening win on Monday and failed to get on base in Tuesday’s loss.
He slipped from third in AL batting average to fourth (.355) after the loss and has now gone 1-for-7 in the two games at Target Field.
AUSMUS REACTS TO GIBSON NEWS
Former Tigers great Kirk Gibson, who will turn 58 next month, revealed Tuesday that he’s battling Parkinson’s disease. Before the game, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Gibson “was one of the fiercest competitors I ever watched” and wished him the best.
“I can’t see Kirk Gibson folding up shop and crawling into a corner over this. I don’t think that’s in his DNA,” Ausmus said.
TIGERS: Shane Greene takes the mound and tries to bounce back after allowing eight runs in his last start as the Tigers try and win the series finales on Wednesday afternoon.
TWINS: After going 11-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 16 day starts last season, Phil Hughes has lost all three of his day starts in 2015 and has a 5.30 ERA. He’ll attempt to change his daytime luck on Wednesday as the Twins try to win the series.
TWINS: Trevor May threw in the bullpen and plans on making his next start on Friday after taking a line drive off his pitching arm during his Saturday start.
Reliever Brian Duensing will test his intercostal muscle strain by throwing live batting practice on Thursday and could be activated from the DL on Saturday if all goes well.
TIGERS: Justin Verlander got in a light game of catch before Tuesday’s game, throwing about 20 soft tosses.
Al Alburquerque, who has been battling a sinus infection, pitched in the eighth.
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