MINNEAPOLIS – While Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno are making strong cases to stay in the Twins' starting rotation into next season, Brian Duensing keep taking steps backward.
Duensing gave up four runs in the first two innings then gave up a homer to Andy Dirks in the sixth and the Minnesota Twins lost to the Detroit Tigers 8-4 Tuesday night.
In his three outings since rejoining Minnesota's starting rotation, Duensing has given up 16 runs — 11 earned — on 29 hits over 19 innings.
"It's really frustrating when you come out and put your team down right away, it's hard to have a chance to win," Duensing said. "I don't know if I'm coming out too amped up or what, but the ball seems to be up in the zone, and I don't get away with much that way."
Starting in the third inning, Duensing retired ten of 13 batters with three strikeouts before Dirks cleared the high wall in right field for his fifth homer of the season.
"I kind of settled down, and made kind of a bad pitch to Dirks there," Duensing said.
Miguel Cabrera became the first major leaguer to surpass 100 RBIs with a single in the seventh. He's the third player in Tigers history, behind Hall of Famers Harry Heilmann and Charlie Gehringer, to reach that milestone in at least five straight seasons.
"He'll have five more with 100 unless he gets hurt," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
A night after amassing 18 hits in a 9-3 win over the Tigers, the Twins managed just five hits and no earned runs off winning pitcher Doug Fister, who won for the third time in four outings.
One of Minnesota's hits was a three-run homer by Josh Willingham, his career-best 30th of the season, and it came after a couple of throws got away from the right side of the Detroit infield.
With Ben Revere on first and one out in the third, Detroit second baseman Omar Infante fielded Darin Mastroianni's groundball. Infante missed a chance to tag Revere and threw to first, where Prince Fielder pulled his foot off the base before his return throw to second sailed into left field. A run scored on the play and two batters later Willingham went deep to tie the score.
"It felt good, but I wish we would have won the game," said Willingham.
After that, the Twins failed to get a runner past second base on the way to their fourth loss in five games.
The Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed two games behind AL Central-leading Chicago, which won at Toronto 3-2.
After the game, Minnesota optioned shortstop Brian Dozier to Triple-A Rochester. The Twins will purchase the contract of infielder Pedro Florimon prior to Wednesday's game.
Dozier, inserted as the Twins' starting shortstop on May 7, has struggled both at the plate and in the field. He's hitting .234 and leads the team with 15 errors.
"It is pretty tough, to be honest," Dozier said. "I'd have sent me down, because I haven't been playing the way I'm capable of doing."
NOTES: Willingham is the first Twins player to hit at least 30 homers in a season since Michael Cuddyer (32) and Justin Morneau (30) in 2009. ... Fielder is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. ... In a continued effort to try to find solid production from the fifth spot in the lineup, Leyland had Peralta bat there for just the second time this season. He's batted sixth, seventh or eighth a combined 100 times. Delmon Young was in the five-hole for most of the season before Brennan Bosch was given a chance. Alex Avila batted fifth Monday.... In Wednesday afternoon's series finale, Detroit is scheduled to send Max Scherzer (11-6, 4.65) to the mound against Minnesota's Cole DeVries (2-3, 4.77).