DETROIT (AP) — Robbie Ray was sharp again. His teammates were anything but.
Rajai Davis misplayed a hit to left field in the eighth inning and the Tigers lost 4-3 to the Twins on Sunday. Ray pitched six scoreless innings, but Minnesota rallied from a three-run deficit thanks to some careless Detroit defense.
“We’re expected to make those plays, and we expect to win,” Davis said. “It’s tough when you lose a game where that could have been the difference.”
The Tigers led 3-1 with two outs in the eighth when Josmil Pinto singled to left field off Joba Chamberlain (1-2) with runners on first and second. One run scored on the hit, but the ball skipped past Davis for an error that enabled another run to come home and allowed Pinto to reach second base.
Eduardo Nunez followed with an RBI single to make it 4-3.
Jared Burton (1-1) won in relief. Glen Perkins got four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the fourth for arguing a call near second base.
Ian Kinsler homered to put the Tigers up 3-0 in the fifth, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on.
Minnesota pinch-hitter Danny Santana delivered an RBI single in the seventh, when Pinto ran through a stop sign and scored from second. He may well have been out at the plate, but right fielder Torii Hunter tossed the ball quickly to second instead of throwing home.
“When I started running, I felt something in my foot, and I stopped, and then I started running. When I touched third base, I saw (the third base coach) like, ‘Hey,‘” said Pinto, pantomiming a stop sign. “And then I turned my head a little bit, and I saw Torii throw the ball to second base.”
So Pinto kept going.
“Torii assumed, that with that kind of bloop single, the guy is scoring easy,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “But they held him up and he read Torii’s throw.”
The Twins then scored three runs in the eighth, taking advantage of Davis’ error.
With a runner on second and one out in the bottom of the inning, Victor Martinez hit a line drive up the middle that hit reliever Casey Fien. The right-hander picked up the ball and threw a one-hopper to first to retire Martinez, then Fein left the game with a bruised right arm.
Perkins came on and got pinch-hitter Nick Castellanos on a flyout with a runner on third.
Ray was acquired in the offseason deal that sent Doug Fister to Washington, and he’s contributing to the Tigers far earlier than many expected. With Anibal Sanchez dealing with a finger injury, the 22-year-old Ray has allowed one run in 11 1-3 innings. He gave up four hits Sunday.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from the first two starts,” Ray said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, which is whatever is asked of me. If that’s the bullpen, great. I’d love to stay up here. I know that I’m a starting pitcher, but I’m absolutely open to whatever I can do to help out the team.”
Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno gave up three runs and six hits in six innings.
Miguel Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly in the first, and the Tigers made it 2-0 in the fourth on an RBI single by Austin Jackson. Detroit had the bases loaded later that inning when Gardenhire was ejected.
With one out, Andrew Romine hit a grounder toward shortstop, but the Twins had no chance to turn a double play because the ball hit Jackson, who had been on second. Jackson was called out, Martinez was sent back to third and Romine was awarded first, leaving the bases still loaded with two outs.
Gardenhire came out to argue, wanting the umpires to award a double play. Third base ump Joe West, the crew chief, ejected him.
The play didn’t cost Minnesota any runs. Davis followed with a groundout to end the inning.
NOTES: It was Gardenhire’s first ejection of the year and the 68th of his career in the regular season. ... Detroit plays at Baltimore on Monday night. Rick Porcello (5-1) starts for the Tigers against Bud Norris (2-2). ... The Twins have Monday off before hosting Boston.