DETROIT – The Twins ended up going 1-for-2 in their weekend matchups with Tigers pitchers who are former Cy Young winners.
And Twins righthander Kyle Gibson fell to 1-3 in his matchups with former Cy Young winners.
Detroit pulled away to a 9-3 victory at Comerica Park on Saturday. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez each hit a three-run home run, and the Tigers sent Gibson to the showers after two innings — the shortest start of his young career — thanks to a six-run spree that included Cabrera’s homer. The Twins crept to within three runs, but Martinez added a three-run homer in the seventh off Michael Tonkin.
The Twins left the park Saturday fretting about how they had chances to do more against defending Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, whom they had on the ropes a few times.
Gibson left the game hoping he learned some lessons about how to keep innings from getting out of hand. He threw only seven first-pitch strikes to the 14 batters he faced. Then, when he needed to make a pitch, it was a fat one.
Alex Avila and Austin Romine hit back-to-back RBI singles to give Detroit a 2-0 lead in the second. Gibson got Ian Kinsler to fly out for the second out of the inning. Then Torii Hunter hit a ground ball to Danny Santana at short that turned into a disaster.
The rookie shortstop, making his fourth start since being called up from Class AAA Rochester, fielded the ball but decided to flip it to Brian Dozier at second instead of throwing to first, which was the easier play. Romine had the play beat at second, but Dozier dropped the ball. Avila took off for home, Dozier picked up the ball and threw wildly home as the run scored.
“I think Danny should have thrown the ball to first base,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Cabrera then drove a hanging slider over the right field wall.
“Got behind a lot of guys and was forced to throw it in the middle,” Gibson said, “and against a good team you can’t do that. Left a couple breaking pitches over the middle, left a couple changeups over the middle.
“It’s frustrating, but a lot to learn from.”
It was the fourth time Gibson has started opposite a former Cy Young winner. On April 17, he won against R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays. The rest were losses — April 22 to David Price and Rays, April 30 against Zack Greinke and the Dodgers and Saturday’s defeat.
The Twins actually had more success against Scherzer on Saturday than they did against Justin Verlander, the 2011 winner, on Friday in a 2-1 victory. They worked counts and made Scherzer look rather ordinary. They jumped back in the game in the third when Dozier hit a slider out to left for a three-run homer that cut the lead in half.
“Right when I made contact, I heard him scream,” Dozier said of Scherzer.
Scherzer threw 116 pitches over six innings, giving up three runs, five hits and four walks and striking out six. He could have been had Saturday, but the Twins were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“Dozier takes a big swing and gets us back in the game,” said Chris Colabello, who struck out three times and left four men on base. “We’re a blooper away from making it 6-4, 6-5. It’s how the game goes sometimes.’’