DETROIT -- Forty-six pitches into the game and the Twins had given up seven runs before recording seven outs. It was that kind of day for Minnesota in an 8-0 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.
"It's like a freight train. We couldn't stop them," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We couldn't get a pitcher warmed up quick enough and next thing you know, you're down seven runs just like that."
Twins starter Sam Deduno sat at his locker in the visiting clubhouse with his head down, deep in thought. His outing in Detroit marked the worst of his career.
"I'm frustrated a little bit," said Deduno, who lasted a career-low 2 1/3 innings and tied a career high with seven runs allowed. "I'm worried a little bit, but I know I'm going to be OK."
The 29-year-old Deduno has performed admirably in his first year as a starting pitcher. But whatever magic he possessed hasn't appeared in his past two starts. A combined 6 1/3 innings, 11 earned runs, eight walks and seven strikeouts. It's increased his ERA nearly a full point.
"I'm doing the same thing I'm doing before, but nothing is going right," said Deduno, now 6-5 with a 4.54 ERA.
Nothing went right for any of the Twins in the series opener.
It began with a first-pitch leadoff home run by Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson on an 87-mph get-me-over fastball, and it ended with two Twins' strikeouts, a ground ball to second base and a complete game by Doug Fister.
The Twins were blanked for the 11th time this season, as Fister yielded seven hits and struck out seven for his first Major League shutout. It was the fifth shutout against Minnesota this season.
"Fister was unbelievable," Gardenhire said. "You could see the guys really having a hard time. Great changeup. Good breaking ball. His sinker was going everywhere. He made it really, really tough on us."
It was made more difficult being in a seven-run hole. Although Deduno escaped his first two innings with minimal damage -- two runs -- he was dismantled on four hits and two walks in a pivotal five-run third.
With runners on first and second, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder hit a well-placed single between the right side, enabling Quintin Berry to score. Former Twin Delmon Young broke open the game with a three-run shot off the left-field foul pole.
By the time Andy Dirks tripled and scored on a wild pitch, it was all but over.
"They're hot right now, and that big of a deficit is tough to overcome when you've got Fister on the mound throwing like he's throwing the ball," Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe said.
For Fister, it was his second complete game of the year. As the lead grew larger, Fister grew sharper, as he retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced from the sixth inning on.
"I was going to take him out," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But he's never had a shutout. So he said, 'Please let me get it, let me take a shot at it.' So I said, 'All right, I'm going to give you a couple hitters, but you'd better make it quick.' And I'm glad I did."
Of course, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera wasn't going quietly. Gardenhire said that he would enjoy watching the American League Most Valuable Player candidate walking to first base during the series.
But with the bases empty in the fourth inning, he let reliever Anthony Swarzak deliver cautiously. All Cabrera needed was one home run to tie for the American League lead with Texas' Josh Hamilton at 42 and move into the lead for all three Triple Crown categories.
On a 3-1 count, he got the fastball and lofted it just over the left-field wall and into the Tigers' bullpen. He's now pacing the AL in batting average (.332), home runs (42) and RBI (131) in his quest to become the first player to accomplish the feat since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
"I tried to go [inside] 3-1, behind in the count to one of the best hitters in the game, and he got some pretty good wood on it," Swarzak said.
Gardenhire had been nervous about his bullpen following the Twins' series in Cleveland, where they encountered two extra-inning games and combined for 13 2/3 innings. He was more troubled after Saturday's game.
"Now we've got a doubleheader to go through [Sunday]," he said. "We didn't kill our bullpen but we used whatever, 5 2/3 innings of our bullpen today with a doubleheader tomorrow. So here we go."
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.