Twins can't solve Verlander in loss to Tigers

Twins can't solve Verlander in loss to Tigers

Twins can't solve Verlander in loss to Tigers
DETROIT -- The Twins knew they had a tough task ahead of themselves if they wanted to extend their season-long win streak to six games on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

They had to go through Justin Verlander, which is never an easy task, considering he's thought of as the most dominant pitcher in the American League, if not all of baseball.

Verlander, though, showed why he's considered an ace, as he tossed his fifth complete game of the year to hand the Twins a 5-1 loss after a two-hour, 26-minute rain delay on the Fourth of July.

"He's got great stuff all the time," said Trevor Plouffe, who went 1-for-3. "He's a guy you go into the ballgame knowing you're only going to score a couple runs. You've got to play good defense and get some good pitching. For the most part, we had that, but he kept us in check."

Minnesota managed just four hits against Verlander, scoring only on Chris Parmelee's solo shot in the fifth inning. It was Parmelee's second homer of the season, and came on a first-pitch changeup.

But it was the lone blemish for Verlander, who set a career high with his Major League-leading fifth complete game of the season.

"Verlander did his thing," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We battled him pretty good, but the guy can really pitch. He didn't give us too many chances."

The Tigers got out to an early lead against left-hander Brian Duensing in the first inning. Austin Jackson reached on a single before the Twins failed to turn a double play on a grounder hit by Ryan Raburn.

It came back to haunt the Twins, as Miguel Cabrera doubled down the left-field and Prince Fielder brought home two runs with a bloop double that dropped in front of center fielder Denard Span.

"We had a couple of shaky defensive plays that cost us a couple of runs," Gardenhire said.

Duensing settled down after that first frame, but exited his start in the fifth inning after being hit on his left ankle on a line drive by Tigers catcher Alex Avila.

He tried to step forward to field the ball but instead fell to the ground after being hit by the line drive, but catcher Joe Mauer was able to field the ball and throw to first base for the first out of the inning. He was able to limp off the field after the play and was replaced by reliever Kyle Waldrop.

Duensing, making his third start of the year, allowed two runs on four hits over a season-high 4 1/3 innings.

"I was actually feeling pretty good," said Duensing, who was diagnosed with a bruised ankle. "First inning was kind of unfortunate. Most of my misses were down, which is one of the big adjustments I wanted to make, and I thought I did a good job of mixing it up.

Waldrop was able to get out of the inning unscathed, but served up a solo shot to Cabrera in the sixth inning.

Right-hander Cole De Vries, who is scheduled to start on Sunday against the Rangers, gave up another blast to Cabrera in the seventh. It was a two-run shot and marked the 23rd multihomer game of Cabrera's career.

"Fielder had two RBIs, and Cabrera had three RBIs," Gardenhire said. "We talk all the time about not giving them anything to hit, and I think Cabrera got two fastballs in two separate at-bats. One went over the center-field fence, and the other one went over the left-field fence."

It was a disappointing result for Minnesota, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he's still been impressed by the Twins, who have a chance to take the four-game series with a win on Thursday afternoon.

"That's a really good hitting team with speed up at the top of the order," Leyland said. "That team's going to make a lot of noise the second half, I think. So I thought [Verlander] did a terrific job."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.