Kevin Correia is right. It has been worse.
“I’ve had a couple starts where it’s gotten out of hand early,” said the Twins righthander, who had been yanked out of two of his previous four starts after two innings or less.
He surrendered an early lead Friday and pitched the Twins into a three-run deficit. But he did figure out a way to pitch into the eighth inning. The problem is that the Twins offense often is incapable of rewarding a pitcher for stopping the bleeding. So the Twins ended up losing 5-2 to the Chicago White Sox at Target Field after another evening of futility in run-scoring situations.
“We missed a few opportunities ourselves in some big situations to get a big hit,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Twins were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position Friday and are batting .172 in those situations this month.
They had two on and one out in the first, but Ryan Doumit, in his first game off the disabled list, grounded into an inning-ending double play. They really had something going in the third when the first two batters reached base. But then Joe Mauer lined out to left and Justin Morneau struck out.
Josh Willingham was hit by a pitch to load the bases, giving Doumit another chance.
Doumit battled through an 12-pitch at-bat, fouling off eight pitches, but after getting a steady stream of fastballs from White Sox starter Jose Quintana, he struck out looking at a breaking ball to end the inning.
Brian Dozier’s two-out single in the seventh scored Wilkin Ramirez to make it 4-2. Lefthander Donnie Veal replaced Quintana but walked Mauer. With the tying runs on, Morneau worked the count to 3-2 before striking out on a breaking ball out of the strike zone. Another night of clutchless hitting.
“You have to get those hits to fall,” Correia said. “We had some opportunities. We had guys on base. We were real close to jumping on them.”
Mauer gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a first-inning homer to right. Correia gave up a two-run single to Dayan Viciedo as Chicago took the lead. In the third, Correia threw Jeff Keppinger a pitch over the inner half of the plate that was hit into the left-field stands for a 3-1 Chicago lead.
Two batters later, Correia grooved one to Dunn, who planted it in the seats in right for a 4-1 lead. It was the fifth time this season that Correia has given up two home runs in one inning.
“If I throw other pitches there, I have a much better chance of getting outs there and not giving up home runs,” Correia said.
Colabello sent down
To make room for Doumit, the Twins sent outfielder-first baseman Chris Colabello to Class AAA Rochester. Gardenhire wanted to keep Colabello, but Doumit is just coming off the DL after a head injury and should be protected.
“I thought it was real important to have a third catcher up here to make sure he gets through these [next few] days and we’ll go from there,” Gardenhire said. “It’s nice to have Doumit back. He’s chomping at the bit.”
The Twins need run production from the middle of the order, but Doumit has not hit well in the No. 5 spot in the order. After going 1-for-4 Friday, he is hitting .222 batting fifth this season.