Bad pitching, hitting add up to bad homestand for Twins

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 20, 2013 - 7:21 AM

The best part of the game on Sunday — perhaps the series and the entire homestand — might have been the movie.

The Twins planned to play the movie “The Sandlot” after Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, but it came in handy when rain began to fall in the seventh inning and the game was halted by a three-hour delay.

Once play resumed, the Twins fell to the Red Sox 5-1, were swept in the three-game series and left town following a 2-7 homestand that included series losses to the Orioles and both Sox teams.

“It’s not the way we wanted it to go, but you can’t take it back now,” right fielder Chris Parmelee said. “You have to move forward and the mistakes we made, don’t make them.”

The Twins hung with the Orioles last weekend but lost two of three. Then the homestand shifted on the power of Adam Dunn’s bat, as they dropped two of three to the White Sox. Then that power transferred to David Ortiz’s bat, with the former Twin going  8-for-13 with two homers and seven RBI.

The three losses to the Red Sox were long and drawn out. The Twins lost in extra innings on Friday, were clubbed 12-5 on Saturday in a game that took 3 hours, 53 minutes; then the tarp was on the field for three hours Sunday as storms hit downtown Minneapolis.

The Twins trailed 3-1 in the seventh when play resumed. They loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Koji Uehara, but he struck Joe Mauer to end the inning. Mauer struck out three times Sunday and is second on the team with 39 strikeouts.

Boston then pulled away in the ninth against Jared Burton, who uncharacteristically lost his command. But the runs weren’t his fault, they were Josh Willingham’s. Dustin Pedroia sent a deep drive to left, Willingham raced back and jumped at the wall to try to make the catch. But the ball hit off the heel of his glove and popped over the wall for a two-run homer.

“We had 10 hours of baseball in two days, and two losses,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Lot of men left out there.”

The story of the homestand was starting pitching and situational hitting.

Twins starters posted a 6.56 ERA, and the bullpen began to log heavy innings when starters were knocked out.

The Twins hoped that lefthander Pedro Hernandez would pitch deep in the game, but he was pulled from the game with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning — after throwing 107 pitches. Boston scored three runs on nine hits and a walk off him, including a solo homer by Will Middlebrooks in the second.

In three career starts against the Red Sox, Hernandez is 0-2 with a 14.80 ERA. In 101 ⅓ innings, Boston has hit six home runs off him.

“I have to keep working in the bullpen to get the ball down so I can do better next time,” Hernandez said.

Twins hitters failed miserably in run-scoring situations. They loaded the bases five times during the series against the Red Sox and failed to score each time. The series could have been different, and the homestand more acceptable, with a few timely hits.

“Call it what you want,” Gardenhire said. “We’re just not getting it done. We’re putting ourselves in good situations to drive in runs. We’re just not getting the big hits.”

Offense was not expected to be an issue with the Twins, even without a proven leadoff hitter.
“Really, it’s been Mauer and [Justin] Morneau who have been carrying us lately.” assistant general manager Rob Antony said.

Home cooking left a bitter taste. Time for room service. The Twins have to rediscover their game on a three-city road trip to Atlanta, Detroit and Milwaukee. Fifteen of the next 20 games are on the road.

“You can’t come home and lose like we have here,” Gardenhire said. “We owe it to our fans to play a little better baseball than we have.’’

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