Robbie Ray dazzled in his second Major League start on Sunday, holding the Minnesota Twins (17-19) to four hits through six shutout innings en route to what figured to be his second win of the season. But the Twins scored three runs in the top of the eighth to come from behind and take the series rubber match 4-3. The Detroit Tigers (21-12) finished their home stand on a disappointing note, but still won four of seven games.
With Anibal Sanchez possibly on track to make his next start after landing on the 15-day disabled list with a blister on his finger, Ray is scheduled to drop out of his temporary spot in the rotation. In two starts the 22-year-old surrendered one run in 11 1/3 innings.
Ray's effort gives manager Brad Ausmus a few more options with the pitching staff. The skipper could decide to add Ray to the bullpen to solidify the left-handed reliever role that Phil Coke has struggled in. But the Tigers have made it known that they would like to keep Ray in a starting role and, barring injury, the only way to make room for him would be to move Drew Smyly back into a bullpen role that he excelled in last season. The most likely option is to move Ray back to Toledo after Sanchez returns and keep him ready to step in for future injuries.
Ian Kinsler led the Tiger offense on Sunday, scoring after a leadoff double in the first inning and blasting his third home run of the season off of starter Samuel Deduno in the fifth. Deduno was strong against the rest of the Detroit lineup, allowing just six total hits over six innings. Centerfielder Austin Jackson extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Minnesota scored its first run in the seventh inning when Danny Santana singled off of Ian Krol with two outs to score Josmil Pinto. The run was charged to Al Alburquerque, who surrendered the single to Pinto.
Joba Chamberlain allowed the first two batters to reach in the eighth inning, hitting Brian Dozier and walking Joe Mauer. He struck out the next two Twins before Pinto singled in Dozier with Mauer right behind him due to an error on left fielder Rajai Davis. Eduardo Nunez then drove in Pinto to give Minnesota the lead.
The rough outing was Chamberlain's first since April 24. He had posted six scoreless innings and surrendered just two hits since.
Twins closer Glen Perkins recorded the final four outs for his 10th save of the season.
Detroit will travel to Baltimore on Monday to kick off a nine-game road trip. The Tigers are 8-4 on the road this season, the fewest number of games played away from home for any team this season.