Twins slip defensively in 7-1 loss to Tigers

Associated Press
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar throws against the Detroit Tigers in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.

DETROIT (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have been offensively challenged for much of the season and usually have been able to rely on sound defense.

Not Wednesday night.

Torii Hunter hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and scored from second base on a passed ball to help the Detroit Tigers beat Minnesota 7-1 on Wednesday night.

After the Twins took a 1-0 lead in the seventh, they allowed four runs in the home half with two outs.

Minnesota could've kept the score tied 1-all, but right fielder Chris Hermann failed to get to Hunter's drive between him and center fielder Clete Thomas and that allowed Austin Jackson to score easily from first.

After Miguel Cabrera was walked intentionally, Prince Fielder struck out, but backup catcher Ryan Doumit allowed the ball to get past him and relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar didn't cover home plate. That mistake gave Hunter a clear path to score.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lamented the mental mistake by the 26-year-old Thielbar.

"The kid got caught watching the play and didn't get to home plate," Gardenhire said. "That's automatic. You have to cover the plate. He knows that better than anyone right now."

After Victor Martinez followed with an RBI double to put Detroit up 4-1, Detroit scored three more runs in the eighth inning with two outs.

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier bobbled a grounder in the eighth, the team's first error in six games, and the miscue loaded the bases for Cabrera, who cleared them with his 25th double that gave him 123 RBIs.

"We didn't make a couple plays in the (eighth) inning, and the game's gone," Gardenhire said. "I hate that."

The Twins rank among the best teams defensively in the major leagues, but they're among the worst in the AL offensively. They were held to one or fewer run for the 27th time this year.

Drew Smyly (5-0) struck out two in a perfect inning in relief of Anibal Sanchez, who gave up one run and six hits over 6 2-3 innings. Jose Veras entered with two outs in the eighth inning and closed the game for his first save with the Tigers.

Kevin Correia (8-10) allowed four runs — two earned — and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings.

"I got us right into the position we needed to be, and I blew it," he said.

After six scoreless innings, Dozier hit a two-out single in the seventh to give Minnesota the lead — briefly.

Pedro Florimon drew a walk on a full-count pitch in the seventh. He stole second, the 15th straight stolen base against the Tigers, who were relegated to using their third-best catcher, Bryan Holaday, who was filling in for injured backup Brayan Pena and starter Alex Avila who is on the concussion disabled list.

The Tigers gave up a 16th straight stolen base later in the inning, extending the longest active streak in the major leagues, according to STATS LLC.

Minnesota was without All-Star catcher Joe Mauer for the second straight day because he is on the seven-day concussion DL.

Both teams had five hits through four innings and combined to leave 10 runners on base. Minnesota's Justin Morneau had two of his team's first four hits, including a double in the third, a day after having a season-high four hits.