Twins manager Paul Molitor said after the game that the plan is for righthander Ervin Santana to make his next scheduled start. He didn't stutter when he said it, either.
Santana now has an 8.03 ERA and has given up nine home runs in five games since his return from finger surgery.
Things were shaping up nicely for Santana to win his first game since Sept. 21 of last season - which came against the Tigers. He had settled down after a rocky first inning and the Twins got a three-run homer from Jorge Polanco in the bottom of the inning then scored five runs in the second.
He had an 8-2 lead to work with. But Santana currently lacks lockdown stuff. He has to be crafty, and his control must be immaculate. If he can't do that, he can get into trouble.
And trouble came a' knockin' during his second trip through the Tigers batting order.
Victor Martinez led off the fourth with a double down the left field line that fooled the Twins' shift. While facing Mikie Mahtook, catcher Mitch Garver called for a pitch near the knees. Instead, Santana's 88 miles per hour fastball was up in the strike zone, and Mahtook crushed the pitch out to left for a two-run home run to cut the Twins lead to 8-4.
James McCann dug in, and Garver, again, set up for a pitch at the knees. Santana threw a 90 mph fastball that was in the middle of the zone, and McCann clobbered it to right for a solo homer to make it 8-5.
Santana got out of the inning and was three outs away from qualifying for a win.
Jim Adduci led off the fifth with a sharp single to center. That brought up Nick Castellanos, who had clubbed a two-run home run in the first inning. Castellanos squared up another Santana pitch, blasting a double to center that put runners on second and third. Santana then fell behind Niko Goodrum 3-0 before walking him to load the bases.
Molitor had no choice. He had to go get Santana, replacing him with Trevor May. May walked into two runs as Detroit crept within 8-7.
"Ervin, we talked about him needing to be fairly precise with how he's pitching right now," Molitor said. "You saw the balls that were hit. You watch the replays and they're not going to the glove. And you have to pay the price for that. I'm sure it is frustrating to have a lead and not be able to go five."
Santana said he battled his control all night. And he must on point right now for him to have a chance.
"It's frustrating," Santana said, "Because as a pitcher you want to be able to put up zeros no matter the score. I'm just going to get them next time."
Castellanos clubbed a two-run home run in the first inning. He came to the plate in the third inning, and Santana's first pitch was well above the strike zone. It was head high but about the middle of the plate. Still, it forced Castellanos bend back. He then stared out toward Santana for a few seconds.
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire started to bark out toward home plate, enough that home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez had to take off his mask and talk to Gardenhire while flashing the "Stop" sign with his left hand. Castellanos ended up walking. Santana was struggling with his control on Thursday, and he's never been known to go after a hitter. But the pitch it got Castellanos attention, Gardy is always going to back his players up.
The game continued without incident. So it's unlikely there will be any carryover.
FORSYTHE GETS STANDING "O"
After Loigan Forsythe got his career-high fifth hit of the night on Thursday, Molitor sent Jake Cave out to pinch run for him. Forsythe had no idea what was happening until Cave showed up at first.
And he did not expect the fans to give him a standing ovation as he left the field.
"It's up there," Forsythe said of his memorable night. "This is the first I've gotten five hits. It was fun.
"And then Mollie taking me out after the fifth hit with a little applause, it was a cool moment. But yeah man, it's up there. I don't think it's really set in, I think it will later tonight. But it was a good day."