The Twins hit seven home runs Wednesday at Target Field, including four in the eighth inning. It wasn't enough.
Detroit scored eight runs in the fourth inning to take a 10-0 lead, then held on to beat the Twins 17-14.
Ryan Jeffers hit a grand slam and a two-run homer for the Twins, and Miguel Sano also homered twice. Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Brent Rooker also connected. Four of the Twins' seven home runs came in the eighth inning, the team's first four-homer inning since May, 1992. The Twins' club record for one game is eight, set in a 14-2 victory over the Washington Senators on Aug. 29, 1963.
"It's crazy seeing how many home runs we were able to slug back-to-back there," Jeffers said. "But we've said this whole season, this offense can hit with the best of them. When we're clicking, it's a fun team to watch."
There was another bit of undesired history, as the Twins became the first team to out-homer their opponent by seven and still lose. It's the fifth time in MLB history a team has hit seven home runs and still lost.
"It felt like a movie out there," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "We play a ton of baseball games, and it didn't feel like any of them that I've seen throughout the years, and we've seen some crazy ones."
The four-hour, three-minute game, played on a steamy day in Minneapolis, had a bit of everything.
Things got weird in the fourth inning, which lasted nearly an hour. Detroit, already leading 2-0, hung eight runs on the Twins. Seven of them were allowed by starting lefthander J.A. Happ. Oh, and those seven also came with no outs.
It was the latest in a string of disappointing starts for Happ. In his three innings Wednesday, he faced 23 batters. He gave up 10 hits, four walks and struck out two. In his first five games of the year, Happ threw 28⅓ innings with six earned runs for a 1.91 ERA. In his past 14, he's pitched 70 innings and allowed 68 earned runs. That's an ERA of 8.74.
"J.A. will spend the time between starts to figure this thing out," Baldelli said. "I believe in him as a guy and as a character in our clubhouse."
Down 10-0, the Twins got six in the bottom of the fourth. Sano led off with a home run. The next three batters singled, and Jeffers came to the plate with the bases loaded. He hit a 418-foot grand slam, the first of his career and the third by a catcher in this series.
Beau Burrows, the former Tigers righthander who was recalled Tuesday when Taylor Rogers went on the injured list, replaced Happ in the fourth and pitched the fifth. He got out of that inning with a strikeout and a walk, but wasn't so lucky in the sixth. The Tigers scored three runs on two hits and made it 13-6.
The Tigers bullpen almost gave it all away. With no outs in the bottom of the eighth, Buck Farmer gave up consecutive home runs to Kepler and Rooker. Farmer walked Polanco and was pulled in favor of Joe Jimenez. Sano crushed the first pitch he saw for his second home run of the game. It traveled 473 feet at 114 miles per hour, the longest home run of the season for the Twins.
Willians Astudillo doubled with one out, and Jeffers hit his second homer of the game. What was once a 10-0 game was not-so-suddenly 13-12.
But Juan Minaya gave up a three-run double to Eric Haase in the top of the ninth, and Jeimer Candelario doubled in Haase to make it 17-12.
Polanco hit a two-run shot off All-Star closer Gregory Soto in the ninth.