The Detroit Tigers jumped on the board early against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon. Torii Hunter singled with one out in the first inning and came all the way home on Miguel Cabrera‘s ensuing double. Cabrera was able to reach third on the throw that came home, and a Victor Martinez sacrifice fly plated him as well. It gave Detroit a 2-0 lead in the first, but things would fall apart.
Anibal Sanchez only lasted 2.2 innings due to a blister on his throwing hand. He had kept the opposition off the board to that point with two strikeouts, two walks, and no hits allowed, but the bullpen couldn’t be counted on for the long haul.
Jose Ortega — recalled from AAA Toledo after Justin Miller was optioned to the minor leagues after Friday’s game — walked the first batter he faced in relief, but the inning was ended when the base runner was caught stealing. He came back out for the fourth inning, but the trend of wildness continued. Ortega walked the leadoff man and then hit the second batter, but managed to strand the runners via a popup, strikeout and groundout.
It was only a matter of time before his lack of control would bite him, and that came in the bottom of the fifth. Two walks, a stolen base, a defensive error on a sacrifice bunt attempt and then a third walked pushed one run in and loaded the bases. That would mark the afternoon for Ortega, and manager Brad Ausmus called on Phil Coke to clean up the mess with the Tigers still leading 2-1.
A walk and a single would push three more runs across before Coke could record an out. He uncorked a wild pitch and then walked another batter for good measure before getting out of the inning with a strikeout and a double play. Coke ended up going 2.2 innings without getting a run credited against him, but it was another rather lousy outing for the maligned lefty.
Twins catcher Josmil Pinto would add a run with a homer in the eighth inning off of Al Alburquerque to extend the Minnesota lead to 5-2. The Tigers would mount a small comeback attempt in the top of the ninth — Victor Martinez homered to begin the inning and Austin Jackson followed with a ground-rule double to bring the tying run to the plate — but that’s as far as they could get. Nick Castellanos bounced into a ground out J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila struck out, and that was that.