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Twins comeback bid comes up short in 12-9 loss to Tigers

DETROIT -- This is how things are going for Detroit these days: Even on the sunniest of days the Tigers can find a big thundercloud.

Detroit rolled out 12 runs Saturday -- its most of the season - but it almost wasn't enough as the Minnesota Twins pounced on the Tigers' troubled bullpen for eight runs in the final three innings.

The Tigers held on for a 12-9 victory that was only their eighth in their last 25 games.

Rookie shortstop Eugenio Suarez hit a solo home run plus a bloop RBI double while Detroit was scoring seven times in the third inning. He also doubled and tripled around a fifth-inning walk and missed his shot at the cycle by hitting into a force play in the eighth.

Right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-2) allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings, with two of the three runs he allowed crossing the plate after he left the game. He walked two and struck out six.

"They didn't pitch all that well after Sanchez left," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, who may have lost two infielders to injuries during the game. "We got walks, some hits -- all the things you're not supposed to do when you have a big lead. Their bullpen didn't pitch all that well and we took advantage."

"It certainly didn't go the way we wanted," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "Granted, they got a couple balls that weren't exactly struck well to fall in, but still we gotta find a way to get through that game with a 10-run lead and not have to burn all those guys in the bullpen.

"It was a day where we could afford to give up a few runs, but we don't want to be giving up runs," he said. "That just shouldn't happen. And it's happened in a number of games where we had big leads, where we've let the other team kind of get back in the game. It'll happen occasionally, but certainly we don't want to make a habit out of it, on a consistent basis."

Minnesota infielder Eduardo Nunez had to leave the game in the eighth with a strained hamstring while third baseman Trevor Plouffe came out after three with a strained left oblique.

"It's not good" in either case, said Gardenhire, who had no immediate decision on whether the players would have to go on the disabled list.

Suarez opened the third inning with his third home run in the eight games he has played for the Tigers this season, creating a 1-1 tie. His bloop double to center drove in the sixth run of the 12-batter frame. He tripled and scored on a single by second baseman Ian Kinsler in the seventh.

The Twins scored a second-inning run off Sanchez on a walk, single and sacrifice fly to right by Plouffe. Minnesota mounted its comeback after Sanchez left.

An RBI triple by Nunez chased Sanchez and a passed ball and RBI forceout by shortstop Danny Santana with right-hander Evan Reed pitching made it 11-4 in the sixth.

Southpaw Phil Coke gave up an RBI single to catcher Eric Fryer in the eighth and his relief, right-hander Al Alburquerque, surrendered a two-run single to Santana.

Second baseman Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run with two out in the ninth off lefty Ian Krol to make it 12-9, but he struck out Fryer to end the game and get his first save with the Tigers.

A dozen Tigers batted in their seven-run inning. Right fielder Torii Hunter bounced an RBI double down the left-field line after Suarez's home run and first baseman Miguel Cabrera bounced an RBI single up the middle before designated hitter Victor Martinez hit his 17th home run. The two-run blow glanced off the railing atop the wall in right and was confirmed by video replay.

After a walk and a single, Suarez blooped his RBI double to center, chasing losing right-hander Samuel Deduno (2-5), and Kinsler hit an RBI infield single to third off right-hander Anthony Swarzak to finish the seven-run inning.

Left fielder J.D. Martinez had an RBI single in the fourth and Detroit got two in the fifth, one on a double by Kinsler, who had three hits, and the other on Hunter's sacrifice fly to center. Third baseman Nick Castellanos had an RBI single to center in the sixth for an 11-1 lead.