Twins miss their chances in the field and at the plate

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2011 - 12:12 AM

Phil Dumatrait muffed a roller for the game-winning run, while the hitters didn't take advantage of Erik Bedard.

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On a night when the Twins issued nine walks and threw just 52 percent of their pitches for strikes, the guy who felt worst made two pitches, hitting his spot both times.

With the score tied and the bases loaded in the seventh inning, journeyman lefthander Phil Dumatrait got Boston slugger David Ortiz to hit a 45-foot roller along the first-base line.

Dumatrait rushed to the ball and tried making a barehanded play to get the forceout at home, but he muffed it.

The Twins weren't opportunistic enough with their own chances Tuesday, so that became the defining play, as Boston held on for a 4-3 victory at Target Field.

"That's a little too simple," manager Ron Gardenhire said, with his team stuck in a six-game losing streak for the fourth time this season. "When you lose, it's not always one thing."

Indeed, the Twins can trace this one to the first inning, when Red Sox starter Erik Bedard was struggling to squeeze pitches into plate umpire Tim McClelland's smallish strike zone.

Coming in, the Twins were on a swinging spree. They had drawn just one walk in their previous 182 plate appearances, but they drew four walks in the first inning.

At one point, Bedard threw eight consecutive balls, bringing Danny Valencia to the plate with the bases loaded. All that wildness didn't deter Valencia from swinging at all three pitches he faced, each one coming in toward his fists.

That strikeout was a big second out for Bedard, and after the usually impatient Delmon Young drew a bases-loaded walk, Tsuyoshi Nishioka fanned to end the inning.

"Unfortunately we only got two runs out of the situation," Gardenhire said. "A couple guys got antsy and took some swings pretty quick and didn't let him finish himself off."

Twins starter Francisco Liriano was as wild as anyone, issuing a career-high seven walks, but he held the Red Sox to three runs over six innings. After walking the .228-hitting Jason Varitek, he gave up a two-run homer to the .165-hitting Darnell McDonald.

"I was kind of all over the place, and they're one of the best teams in baseball," Liriano said. "So you've got to make sure you don't make a mistake like I did in the fifth inning."

With the score tied 3-3 in the seventh, Gardenhire replaced Liriano with Matt Capps.

Gardenhire said lefthander Glen Perkins was available, but the team was trying everything it could to avoid using him after Perkins had thrown 23 pitches in 1 2/3 innings Monday.

The Red Sox loaded the bases against Capps with two walks and a single. In one of his biggest spots all season, Dumatrait was summoned to face Ortiz, who was 4-for-5 with a 438-foot homer in Monday's 8-6 victory.

With an 0-1 count, Dumatrait got Ortiz to chase a slider outside the strike zone, but he just couldn't make the play.

"It was one of those do-or-die things where I just had to hopefully get a good grip on the ball and throw it to the plate," Dumatrait said. "And I didn't get the grip of the ball."

Added Gardenhire: "You've got a lefthanded pitcher falling off the other way. A big lefty taps the ball the other way, with spin on it. That's not an easy play."

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