Tigers Squander Lead and Late Chances; Lose to Twins 8-4

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Sep 17, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) looks on after giving up a run in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers dropped the final game of their 3 game series the Minnesota Twins by a score of 8-4. The Tigers got out to an early lead, but squandered it, much like they squandered late chances to win tonight. The Twins on the other hand kept adding on runs and taking advantage of the Tigers’ mistakes in route to their victory.

David Price took the mound for the Tigers tonight and he struggled to say the least. Price allowed 3 runs in the first inning and did not have his good stuff for the rest of the night. He struggled to put away Twins hitters and the numbers show it. Price’s final line was 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. This is the 2nd consecutive day a Tigers starter has given up an early inning lead against the Twins.

The game got off to a very fast start. In the top of the first, the Tigers put together a two out rally to score two runs. Miguel Cabrera his a single to left field, Victor Martinez walked, moving Cabrera to second, and J.D. Martinez singled scoring Cabrera. Nick Castellanos followed J.D. Martinez with another single scoring Victor Martinez giving the Tigers the 2-0 lead.

This lead would usually feel comfortable with David Price on the mound, but the lead was given up as quickly as it was acquired. Danny Santana led off with a triple up the right-center field gap. Brian Dozier singled in Santana making the game 2-1 two batters into the game for the Twins. Joe Mauer walked in front of a Trevor Plouffe single which scored Dozier and tied the game. Kurt Suzuki then hit a double down the left field line scoring Mauer and giving the Twins the 3-2 lead. Price then got out of the inning with two consecutive ground outs to third base.

The Tigers then continued the see-saw battle by taking the lead in the top half of the 2nd. Andrew Romine started the inning with the dreaded leadoff walk. Romine moved to third on a hit and run groundout by Rajai Davis and another groundout by Ian Kinsler. Torii Hunter hit a single up the middle to score Romine to tie the game at 3-3. Cabrera decided the game was going to be tied no longer and scalded a double up the left-center field gap scoring Hunter. After an inning and a half, the Tigers led 4-3.

Although neither starting pitcher was at his best tonight, the two sides matches zeros until the 6th inning. Price entered the inning at 104 pitches and the tigers hoped they could get one more inning out of him. Eduaro Nunez grounded out to short to start the inning. Aaron Hicks doubled to right center. Jordan Schafer then lined out to center moving Hicks up to third. It looked like Price would get out of the inning with the lead, but Santana hit a double to left field to score Schafer, tie the game at 4-4, and end Price’s night. Al Alburquerque then came in to face Dozier who tripled off of the left field wall to score Santana and gave the Twins the 5-4 lead. Kyle Ryan then entered the game and surrendered a flare double down the left field line scoring Dozier and gave the Twins the 6-4 lead.

The Tigers made a push to cut the lead in the 7th and 8th innings. Torii Hunter singled and Cabrera doubled with one out to put the two tying runners in scoring position for Victor Martinez. Victor hit a ground ball to Mauer who was back ceding the run. Hunter started to run home, but decided against it half way down the line. Cabrera was also going to move up on the play. Mauer touched the bag at 1st and threw behind Cabrera at 2nd to double the Tigers up. Cabrera made the right play because he should have been at 3rd and Hunter should have scored. In the 8th, J.D. Martinez hit a single and moved to third on a base hit from Tyler Collins with one out. Eugenio Suarez then struck out looking and Rajai Davis hit a weak ground ball to 2nd to squander another chance.

The Twins did not squander their chance in the 8th. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless 7th, but did not have the same luck in the 8th. Schafer reached and stole 2nd on the first pitch to Santana. Santana then singled home Schafer to give the Twins the 7-4 lead. It was a mistake to leave Johnson, a one inning guy, in for a 2nd inning while there were still arms left in the bullpen, especially Joakim Soria. Santana stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Phil Coke was then brought on to face Joe Mauer who singled home Santana and gave the Twins the 8-4 lead.

The Tigers will now have Thursday off and travel to take on the Kansas City Royals in the most important series of the year with a half game lead. Friday night, Justin Verlander will take the mound against Jason Vargas.

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