Minnesota Twins rally late to break 4-4 tie and beat Detroit Tigers, 6-4

Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon throws during the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday in Detroit. (AP photo)

DETROIT — The Minnesota Twins know they can’t keep blowing big leads if they want to stay in the playoff race.

Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano homered as the Twins won in another topsy-turvy matchup, beating the Detroit Tigers 6-4 Sunday for their seventh victory in eight games.

Minnesota blew an early 4-0 lead before Byron Buxton hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning. A day earlier, the Twins trailed 5-0, rallied for an 11-6 lead, then lost to the Tigers 12-11 on Justin Upton’s two-run homer in the ninth.

“All three games here were a struggle,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We really talked about bouncing back after last night, and now we can feel good about getting out of here with a series win.”

Buxton drove in two runs for the playoff contenders. Detroit has lost seven of nine.

Minnesota catcher Chris Gimenez had three passed balls in the fifth inning. One toss from starter Ervin Santana that went through his legs was called a wild pitch, preventing Gimenez from tying the major league record of four passed balls in an inning, set by Ray Katt of the New York Giants in 1954 and tied by Geno Petralli of the Texas Rangers in 1987.

Tyler Duffey (2-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Trevor Hildenberger struck out Upton with a runner on first to end the eighth, then pitched the ninth for his first career save.

Hildenberger struck out James McCann to end the game.

“He’s throwing sidearm, so it is a release point that you don’t see very often, and he’s got a great changeup,” McCann said. “After you see his fastball, it feels like you are waiting all day for the changeup to get to home plate.”

It was 4-all when Bruce Rondon (1-3) walked the first two batters in the Minnesota eighth. Rondon was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the game.

“That’s a point where we need to keep the score where it was, and he couldn’t do it,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “That was his inning to pitch, but I knew I had to get someone up in the ‘pen when his first pitches weren’t close.”