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Updated: August 14th, 2012 10:05pm
Willingham's career-high 30th homer not enough as Twins fall to Tigers

Willingham's career-high 30th homer not enough as Twins fall to Tigers

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins erased an early 4-0 deficit, but beyond that they could not solve right-hander Doug Fister in an 8-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

The skinny

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Brian Duensing on a two-out, two-RBI single by Jhonny Peralta in the top of the first inning.

In the top of the second, Gerald Laird tripled and drove home a run when his fly ball landed just past a diving Darin Mastroianni in right field. Austin Jackson later drove in Laird with a double to the gap in right-center that landed just beyond a diving Ben Revere.

Twins scored their first run courtesy of a comedy of errors by the Tigers in the bottom of the third inning.

With runners on the corners and one out, Mastorianni hit a groundball to second baseman Omar Infante. Ben Revere, running from first base, began backpedaling before Infante could tag him. The second baseman fired to first in an attempt to salvage a force out of Mastroianni, but first baseman Prince Fielder pulled his foot off the base as he caught the ball.

Fielder then fired high to shortstop Peralta, allowing Revere to reach second base safely. Meanwhile, Jamey Carroll strolled in easily from third base.

Josh Willingham hit a three-run blast two batters later to tie the game 4-4.

All four runs were unearned for Tigers right-hander Fister, who allowed just five hits and two walks in eight innings while striking out seven.

Duensing was charged with five earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings.

A solo shot to right by Andy Dirks broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth, and a triple to deep center by Infante off righty Casey Fien set up an RBI single for Miguel Cabrera in the seventh. Cabrera added an RBI double in the ninth to put the Tigers up 7-4.

Turning point

When the Twins scored four runs in the third, it appeared as if they were set for another offensive explosion.

But Fister shut the door the rest of the way, throwing 120 pitches and 82 strikes.

Numbers game

30: Home runs for Willingham, which sets a new career high. ""It felt good," Willingham said. "It was good to get us back in the ballgame, too. I wish we would've won the game but it feels good to do something I've never done before."

100: RBIs for Cabrera.

88: RBIs for Willingham.

Health report

• RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Tuesday with no issues. He will be activated from the disabled list in time for Friday's game in Seattle.

• OF Denard Span (shoulder) underwent more treatment on Tuesday and also shagged fly balls during batting practice. He is still considered day-to-day and likely won't play until at least Friday.

• RHP Kyle Gibson (elbow) allowed a run on three hits and a walk while striking out one in his three-inning outing for High-A Fort Myers on Tuesday night.

On deck

Wednesday: vs. Tigers, 12:10 p.m. RHP Cole De Vries (2-3, 4.77) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (11-6, 4.65)
Thursday: Off day
Friday: @ Mariners, 9:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (4-8, 7.33) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (3-3, 4.16)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd