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With the score tied in the ninth inning Friday, Twins lefty reliever Caleb Thielbar had two outs, nobody on base and the Detroit Tigers' No. 9 hitter in the batter's box.

For the second time in six days, the bottom of the Tigers lineup came to haunt him.

Thielbar surrendered a two-out single to Parker Meadows, committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and gave up a go-ahead RBI single to Wenceel Pérez in a 5-4 loss to the Tigers at Target Field. In a deflating start to the season, the Twins have dropped five consecutive games.

It's the eighth time the Twins lost at least 12 of their first 18 games in franchise history, and the first time since 2016. None of those teams finished with a winning record.

"I try not to look at records, but I know we're not playing good baseball right now and I've been a part of that two out of the last five games," Thielbar said. "It's tough. It weighs on me. It weighs on the guys in here. We're trying to dig out of it but it's just not going well for us right now."

Thielbar, who began the season on the 15-day injured list, didn't pitch in any spring training games because of a hamstring injury. He recorded only one out with a three-run lead in his season debut Sunday when the Twins blew a four-run lead to Detroit, and Friday meant more trouble when Pérez drove a fastball up the middle, scoring the go-ahead run.

Manager Rocco Baldelli backed Thielbar — "I'm going to bet on Caleb there every time," Baldelli said — but a rough start to Thielbar's season is compounded by the team's start.

"It's been a frustrating year so far and frustrating go of it, just in general," the 37-year-old reliever said. "To have that happen again, against this same team within five days of each other, I mean I can say all I want about pitch shapes, everything seems to be coming together, but that doesn't matter when you're blowing games. That's frustrating."

The Twins aren't giving their pitchers much margin for error. Even when they make the right plays and the right pitches, it hasn't been enough.

Detroit scored two runs in the third inning, wrestling a lead away from the Twins after starting pitcher Joe Ryan was locked in a seven pitch at-bat with Meadows. Ryan's last pitch, a 94-mph fastball, was as close to the middle of the plate as the outside corner, but it was called ball four.

"The strike?" Ryan said when he was asked about it after the game.

Meadows stole second base as Ryan struck out the next batter, then scored when Pérez blooped an RBI single to left.

If that wasn't enough frustration for Ryan, who permitted four runs in 5⅓ innings, Pérez stole second base and scored on Kerry Carpenter's check swing that dribbled through the left side of the infield.

"We didn't lose because of umpiring," Baldelli said. "I think there was way more we could look at, to focus on, but that guy shouldn't have scored."

The Twins allowed a run in the first inning when Carpenter scored from second base on an infield single, a throw from second baseman Edouard Julien skipping past catcher Christian Vázquez to the backstop.

The Twins, who have lost only three games this season when scoring at least four runs, benefited from Detroit's defense. After Julien drew a leadoff walk in the sixth inning, Ryan Jeffers hit a fly ball to right-center field. Jeffers slammed his bat in frustration, but Pérez whiffed on the ball for an error.

Gifted two runners in scoring position with none out, the next two batters struck out. Byron Buxton, hitless in his last 32 at-bats against Tigers pitching, lined a slider to left field. Buxton thought it would be a go-ahead homer, flipping his bat as he moved out of the batter's box, but he had to settle for a game-tying, two-run double when the ball hit the top of the left field wall.

The Twins didn't have another runner reach third base.

"We still have to score some more runs," Baldelli said. "They helped us out a little bit, we helped them out a little bit during the game, going back and forth. They were just able to take advantage of it just a little bit better than us."