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Ervin falters as timely hits sink Twins vs. Tigers

MLB.com

DETROIT -- Ervin Santana's six innings of work Friday night marked his longest outing of his shortened season, but the long ball was his undoing in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Two of the three hits Santana (0-1) allowed were two-run home runs. They came in back-to-back innings, and both were hit with two outs. With the game tied at 1 in the fourth inning, Santana threw a 1-2 slider down the middle of the plate that Niko Goodrum hit over the right-field wall. Santana said he was trying to throw a slider down and in.

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DETROIT -- Ervin Santana's six innings of work Friday night marked his longest outing of his shortened season, but the long ball was his undoing in a 5-3 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Two of the three hits Santana (0-1) allowed were two-run home runs. They came in back-to-back innings, and both were hit with two outs. With the game tied at 1 in the fourth inning, Santana threw a 1-2 slider down the middle of the plate that Niko Goodrum hit over the right-field wall. Santana said he was trying to throw a slider down and in.

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Video: MIN@DET: Goodrum connects for 2-run homer to right

In seven games against the team that drafted him in 2010, Goodrum is batting .318 (7-for-22) with three home runs.

"He's not missing mistakes," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Goodrum. "We've attacked him at times pretty well. I don't know if he's extra motivated or what against us, but he's had a lot of big hits in the games that we've played him thus far."

In the fifth inning, Jose Iglesias sneaked a towering home run inside the left-field foul pole. Santana said he was trying to place that ball outside.

Video: MIN@DET: Iglesias drives 2-run smash to left

Missing location like that haunts every Major League pitcher at some point, but it's especially dangerous for Santana as he tries to work his way back to the velocity he had before offseason surgery on his middle finger that landed him on the disabled list for nearly five months.

"I don't worry about the velocity right now," Santana said. "I just worry about my hand and try to get better every day. I don't worry about the velocity. I'm just trying to locate my fastball and my offspeed."

Santana has allowed six home runs this season. Friday was the 78th time Santana has allowed multiple home runs in a start in his career.

"I'd be surprised if it doesn't come back, at least to some degree, whether it's in the remainder of this year or into next spring," Molitor said of Santana's velocity.

The only other hit the Tigers got off Santana -- reliever Oliver Drake threw two hitless innings -- was a triple by JaCoby Jones in the third inning. This is the first time in Santana's career that he has allowed at least five runs on fewer than four hits.

"Sometimes you give up seven hits, eight hits, 10 hits, you win the game," Santana said. "Sometimes you don't, and you lose the game. It's weird. Sometimes you pitch good and you end up getting the loss."

The Twins initially held a lead in the third inning after a throwing error by Goodrum at second base allowed Jorge Polanco to score with two outs. Goodrum was trying to make a play on a Logan Forsythe ground ball that bounced off starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (5-4). The Twins scored in the sixth inning, again thanks to an error. Forsythe reached on a throwing error by third baseman Jeimer Candelario. A sacrifice fly by Mitch Garver scored Forsythe. Ehire Adrianza tagged closer Shane Greene with a run in the ninth inning with a two-out double that scored Jake Cave. Joe Mauer, representing the tying run, grounded out to shortstop to end the game.

Video: MIN@DET: Adrianza brings home Cave with a double

Minnesota outhit the Tigers 10-3.

SOUND SMART
Since being acquired by the Twins at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Forsythe is hitting .414 in nine games. He finished 2-for-4 on Friday for his fourth multi-hit game in that stretch.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In his first at-bat in the second inning, Goodrum hit a 419-foot out that was tracked down by Cave in center field. According to Statcast™, Cave ran 107 feet in 5.8 seconds (18.4 feet per second). The ball had a 37 percent catch probability, good for a four-star catch.

Video: MIN@DET: Cave runs 107 feet for outstanding catch

HE SAID IT
"It was a lighter moment in a game that didn't have many of them for us. It didn't cost us, but I don't know what happened." -- Molitor, on Cave tripping and face-planting while rounding second base in the second inning

Video: MIN@DET: Cave doubles, faceplants at second base

UP NEXT
The Twins continue their weekend series against the Tigers with a 5:10 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday. Minnesota will go with Kyle Gibson (5-9, 3.60 ERA) on the mound. Gibson gave up six runs in five innings in his last start against the Indians. The Tigers will start Francisco Liriano (3-6, 4.37), who will throw against his old club for the first time since signing with Detroit in the offseason.

Tyler Fenwick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

Minnesota Twins, Ervin Santana