MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Ian Kinsler's two-out RBI single preceded a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the top of the 12th inning, pushing the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins 7-4 in a back-and-forth game Wednesday night.
With scant fans left from the paid crowd of 22,509, Martinez's 37th home run off Brian Duensing (4-1) landed with a loud clang on the metal bleachers in lower left field that punctuated a tough loss for the postseason-chasing Twins. They stayed 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the second American League wild card spot, after the Astros lost to Texas.
Ian Krol (2-3), the ninth Tigers pitcher, got the last nine outs for the victory while allowing only one walk. He stranded the two runners he inherited with no outs in the 10th.
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The first pitch was delayed 56 minutes because of rain, and the game finally ended at 12:23 a.m. local time.
Jefry Marte hit a two-run single in a four-hit ninth inning against Kevin Jepsen, his first squandered save in eight attempts with Minnesota. Then the Twins got one back in the bottom of the inning as Bruce Rondon took his third blown save in eight tries for Detroit, walking Miguel Sano to start and surrendering the tying double to Trevor Plouffe.
Eddie Rosario of the Twins held star of the night status until then, with a home run in the third inning and the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
Daniel Norris came off the disabled list to start for the Tigers on a strict pitch count that limited him to 3 2/3 innings. The Twins had only two hits through the sixth, but Joe Mauer walked to start the seventh and stretch his streak of reaching base to 36 consecutive games.
Sano followed with his second double of the game. Hunter's single off third baseman Marte's glove gave Drew VerHagen his first run allowed in 12 appearances. Then Rosario met Detroit's third reliever, Blaine Hardy, with the big hit.
Twins starter Ervin Santana surrendered a two-run, two-out, full-count double in the first inning to Tyler Collins, but the Tigers had just three other hits against him. Second baseman Brian Dozier helped turn three double plays, stretching for a wide toss from Santana and staying in stride to fire the relay throw to first to end the fourth.
Over his last four turns, Santana has finished 29 innings and allowed just 22 hits, six walks and five runs with 32 strikeouts.
Signed for $49 million, RHP Ricky Nolasco has a 5.40 ERA over the first half of his four-year deal with the Twins. He won five straight starts in May but landed on the DL with a right ankle injury that needed surgery. Nolasco threw a sharp bullpen session Wednesday, though, and manager Paul Molitor used the words ''professionalism'' and ''hunger'' in praising Nolasco's effort to return this season. The Twins have a six-man rotation, so the only chance for Nolasco to pitch while the Twins are in contention would be in relief.
''I'm proud of what he's done to get himself ready,'' Molitor said.
Tigers: Nick Castellanos was scratched from the original lineup due to tightness in his left groin. He was replaced at 3B by Marte, who batted sixth with Collins moving up one slot. ... RHP Anibal Sanchez saw Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Florida, where an MRI showed no structural damage to his shoulder. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection.
Twins: RHP Glen Perkins looked good in his bullpen session, Molitor said, and the closer should be ready for game action by Friday. Jepsen has been handling the ninth inning for Perkins, who's been out with a bad back since Sept. 1.
Tigers: After a day off Thursday, Detroit returns home to host division-leading Kansas City. RHP Justin Verlander (3-8, 3.58 ERA) pitches Friday for the Tigers, opposite RHP Johnny Cueto (9-12, 3.47 ERA) of the Royals.
Twins: This 10-game homestand continues for Minnesota on Thursday against wild-card competitor Los Angeles, with LHP Tommy Milone (8-5, 3.73 ERA) taking the mound for the Twins against LHP Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.21 ERA) of the Angels.