MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota Twins’ season that appears headed toward 100 losses has seen plenty of its down moments and being swept at home by the Detroit in the season series is among the top disappointments.
Justin Verlander (15-8) tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts, while Minnesota struck out 17 times in a 4-2 loss in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader as the Tigers moved into the second AL wild-card spot.
Erick Aybar drove in two runs for Detroit, which went 9-0 at Minnesota this year and outscored the Twins 65-25 at Target Field.
“The way Verlander and those guys aren’t giving in, you can just tell, especially when you face a team like these guys and Cleveland enough,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “They do the little things right 100 percent of the time in order to win games. I hope they’re observing this, a lot of people in here.”
Ervin Santana (7-11) gave up four runs — two earned — five hits and four walks in six innings for the Twins. Juan Centeno and Byron Buxton hit solo homers in the evening loss.
The nightcap was another sloppy game for Minnesota, which committed two errors, had two wild pitches and one passed ball. The Twins had three errors and five wild pitches in the doubleheader, scheduled to make up Wednesday’s rainout.
Minnesota has lost six straight games and 98 overall, reaching 96 for the fourth time in six seasons and three short of their 2011 total.
“It’s kind of been typical for us to hang in games and then not be able to finish,” manager Paul Molitor said. “That’s part of what we’re hoping we’re developing here is these guys are understanding the fine line when you get down to the end, whether it’s making a pitch or making a play or getting a hit. It can be small when you’re losing these close games, especially when they’re low-scoring like that.”
In the first game, Pat Dean made a spot start and pitched five innings while giving up just one run.
Detroit’s Justin Upton hit a tiebreaking homer off Alex Wimmers (1-3) and Victor Martinez added a pinch-hit, three-run homer in a six-run ninth against Pat Light.
Dozier’s first-inning homer in the first game was his 42nd of the season and 40th while playing second base, establishing a new AL record for homers in a season by a second baseman. Dozier passed Alfonso Soriano’s total in 2002. Only Rogers Hornsby (42 in 1922), Davey Johnson (42 in 1973) and Ryne Sandberg (40 in 1990) have hit more.
“It’s just another number,” Dozier said. “But at the same time, I know the fans are enjoying it, so you come out and you play for them. To get a chance to do that here at home is pretty cool.”
Dozier had his 24-game hitting streak snapped in the second game.
Twins: DH/3B Miguel Sano (lower back tightness) was back in the lineup for the first time since Sept. 12. Molitor said Sano was still sore but was anxious to return. . Molitor confirmed RHP Trevor May has a stress fracture in his back. May was 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 44 relief appearances. He made three trips to the DL with the injury, which hadn’t been detected in previous exams. . RF Max Kepler left the second game with a mild neck strain after hitting the wall awkwardly.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (6-10) is slated to make his final home start of the season on Friday against Seattle, which will start LHP James Paxton (4-7).