The Tigers began August with plenty of offense. Detroit tallied 63 runs in its first nine games this month and carried a .318 team batting average into Monday.
But more recently, the bats have gone cold.
It didn't get any better in Monday's series opener against the Twins. Detroit tallied just five hits against Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno on the way to a 9-3 defeat in front of 34,366. The Tigers' six hits also marked their lowest total in in 22 games at Target Field.
"We got our butts kicked today," catcher Alex Avila said. "That's the best way I can put it, I guess."
Detroit made Deduno look like anyone but a 29-year-old pitching in only his 13th career game. The right-hander was effectively wild -- striking out six and walking five -- while allowing three runs in seven-plus innings.
"He was tough to pick up today and just figure out basically," said Avila, who went 0-for-4. "Normally you're able to get something out of those walks and stuff like that. He just had some nasty stuff. He was kind of effectively wild. We just couldn't square him up."
Meanwhile, Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez struggled, allowing five runs on 12 hits and a walk. But he kept it close until the sixth, which Detroit entered trailing, 2-1. Minnesota plated three runs to take a 5-1 lead and prompt the end of Sanchez's night.
The 12 hits allowed were a season high for Sanchez and his most since April 10, 2011, when he gave up 13 against Houston. Sanchez is 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA in four outings with the Tigers.
"Sanchez got the ball up and got hit hard," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's done that quite a bit since he's been here. He's not keeping the ball down well enough and he paid the price for that."
Alexi Casilla tagged a one-out double off the right-field wall to score Ryan Doumit and advance Jamey Carroll to third. The hit was enough for Leyland to yank Sanchez, who needed 102 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings.
Leyland next sent in Phil Coke, who couldn't completely stomp out Minnesota's rally. Ben Revere grounded out, but Darin Mastroianni lifted a single to center to drive in both runners. Prince Fielder cut off Austin Jackson's throw and was able to flip the ball to Jhonny Peralta in time to get Mastroianni at second for the third out.
The Twins further distanced themselves with a three-run homer from Doumit off Duane Below in the seventh. Joe Mauer led off with a single and Josh Willingham walked before scoring on Doumit's 14th home run.
Detroit finally managed to string together some offense in the eighth, but it was far too late to matter much. Jackson and Andy Dirks started it with a single and a double and Miguel Cabrera ripped a single through the middle to score Jackson and finally end Deduno's night.
Tyler Robertson replaced Deduno and was aided by a tremendous catch in right field from Mastroianni to rob Fielder of a hit. Avila struck out, but Delmon Young's single brought Dirks home.
Jeff Baker pinch-hit for Brennan Boesch but Minnesota's Jeff Gray induced a groundout from him to end the inning. Still, the two-run inning seemed like an outburst after Deduno baffled the Tigers for much of the night.
"He gets them chasing," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was buckling some guys over on that side. Those guys, that's not the norm for the Detroit Tigers. They're a very good hitting baseball team. He was throwing some breaking balls, but they were swinging and the ball was disappearing. That just tells you a little bit about his stuff."
Mastroianni also crushed a Sanchez offering in the fifth with a solo home run to left field for a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers used a Peralta double in the fifth -- their first hit of the game -- to score Boesch and tie the game at 1. But Detroit missed out on a chance for a bigger inning after a bizarre play. Omar Infante followed Peralta's double with a single, putting runners on the corners. Jackson struck out swinging, then Dirks' liner deflected off of Deduno's glove and into Casilla's at second. Casilla easily doubled off Infante at first to end the inning.
The Twins tagged Sanchez for three consecutive singles in the third, resulting in a run as Justin Morneau drove in Mauer.
Sanchez suffered a scare earlier when he took Mauer's liner off his left leg in the first inning. Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came on to check Sanchez, but he remained in the game after some deliberation. Sanchez iced his left calf following the game.
"It's sore right now," he said. "I will see how it is tomorrow."