Minneapolis, MN – Doug Fister tossed eight effective innings to lead the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins, 8-4, in the middle installment of a three-game set at Target Field.
Fister (7-7) allowed four unearned runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts as Detroit snapped a three-game slide.
"When you win you don't talk about those things," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said about the unearned runs. "If you lose a game like that then you probably talk a little more about the defense, but that's part of the game and those things happen."
Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta each knocked in a pair of runs in the victory.
Brian Duensing (2-8) surrendered five runs on eight hits and two walks over six innings to take the loss.
Josh Willingham hit a three-run homer for the Twins, who have lost six of their last nine.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick lead after Austin Jackson led off the game with a walk and Omar Infante followed with an infield single. Both runners would advance a base on a Prince Fielder dribbler in front of the plate before coming home on Peralta's base hit to left.
After the Twins left a man on third in the home first, Detroit added to its lead in the second when Andy Dirks hit a one-out single and rounded the bases on Gerald Laird's triple, which dropped just out of the reach of a diving Darin Mastroianni in right field.
Jackson's double to left-center field plated Laird to give the Tigers a 4-0 advantage.
"I don't know what the deal is with the first two innings. It's been like that for a little bit," Duensing said. "That's probably the most frustrating part because I feel like I'm really close to having that figured out. I don't know if I'm coming out too amped up or what."
However, Minnesota was able to tie the game in the third inning thanks to four unearned runs.
Jamey Carroll opened the frame with a bouncer to the right side of the infield that Infante muffed, advanced to second on an Alexi Casilla groundout and moved to third on Ben Revere's single through the left side of the infield.
Mastroianni then hit a grounder to second and Infante tossed the ball to first after trying to tag out Revere in the base path, but Fielder pulled his foot off the bag before catching it and then threw the ball into center field trying to get Revere, allowing Carroll to score and placing runners on the corners.
Two batters later, Willingham pulled a home run over the wall in left-center field to knot the game at 4-4.
Minnesota failed to capitalize on Ryan Doumit's leadoff double in the fourth inning before Dirks gave Detroit back the lead in the sixth with a solo shot to right.
The Tigers added a run in the seventh when Infante hit a leadoff triple to deep center field and came home on Cabrera's base hit to right.
Detroit put the game away in the ninth with a pair of runs after Infante reached base on a throwing error by third baseman Trevor Plouffe and rounded third on Cabrera's double to left. Cabrera would later score on a fielding error by Carroll on a potential inning-ending double play grounder to short for an 8-4 lead.
Jose Valverde worked a scoreless bottom of the ninth to close out the game.
Detroit optioned pitcher Duane Below to Triple-A Toledo and recalled pitcher Luke Putkonen from Toledo earlier Tuesday ... Willingham's homer was his 30th of the season, which set a new career high ... Cabrera's run-scoring single in the seventh was his 100th RBI of the season. He became just the third player in Tigers history to collect 100-or-more RBI in at least five straight seasons, joining Harry Heilmann (1923-29) and Charlie Gehringer (1932-36) ... Detroit had a runner thrown out at home in the eighth inning ... The Tigers now lead the season series between the teams, 6-5.