Twins stung by the long ball in Colorado

Spot starter Kris Johnson couldn’t get his pitches down and lasted only four innings.

– The Twins’ recent surge has been built through starting pitching. Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson and even Yohan Pino stepped up with strong outings during the four-game series at Seattle, when the Twins won the final three games.

The task to follow the leaders fell to lefthander Kris Johnson on Friday, but the fill-in from Class AAA Rochester for Ricky Nolasco left too many pitches up.

“It’s disappointing,” Johnson said. “They need you to make a start and you can’t even go five innings.”

Johnson was ineffective early, enabling the Rockies to pull away to a 6-2 victory in the first game of a three-game series. Drew Stubbs, Troy Tulowitzki and Brandon Barnes hit home runs for Colorado. The Twins can clinch a winning road trip — their first since the beginning of June — with one victory in this series. Two wins, and they hit the All-Star break with a little gusto.

The Rockies are floundering in the NL West, but they are 24-23 at home, where they are a different team, especially offensively. Tulowitzki, for example, entered Friday batting a whopping .433 at Coors Field.

Opposing pitchers have been punished here, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire held out hope Johnson could come in, once again, and keep the Twins in the game.

“The ballpark should bode well for him,” Gardenhire said before the game. “He throws the ball down in the zone. The last time he was up here [to start the second game of a doubleheader against the Dodgers on May 1], everything was knee-high, and you have to do that here. If you elevate the ball, it does fly here.”

It was more of the latter. Johnson gave up a two-run homer to Stubbs in the first inning on a fastball he threw inside, but not inside enough.

The teams traded runs in the second inning, with Johnson striking out Charlie Blackmon and Stubbs to leave two runners on, but in the third inning Tulowitzki socked a two-run homer to the opposite field, giving Colorado a 5-1 lead. The pitch to Tulowitzki was supposed to be a sinker but was belt-high.

“The only time it sunk was when it was in the stands,” Gardenhire said.

The last time Johnson was seen in a Twins uniform, he figured out a way to shut out the Dodgers for 4⅓ innings on May 1 despite six walks. The 29-year-old, acquired from Pittsburgh last year, was sent back to Rochester after that, where he continued to pitch well for the Red Wings.

The Twins would have gladly taken 4⅓ shaky shutout innings Friday. Instead, Johnson was rocked for five runs over four innings on eight hits and three strikeouts. In addition to the elevated pitches, Johnson (0-1) let the leadoff hitter get a hit in all four of his innings. Three of them scored.

“That’s not a recipe for success,” Johnson said.

The Twins offense couldn’t bail out Johnson, either. They made Rockies lefthander Jorge De La Rosa throw 62 pitches over the first three innings but they couldn’t get a key hit to put him on the ropes. The Twins were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, both runs scoring on groundouts.

Their best chance for a big inning came in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Tulowitzki went into the hole and made a jaw-dropping jump throw to first to rob Kurt Suzuki and end the inning.

“We got some hits but never really put a lot of pressure on them,” Gardenhire said.

If Johnson gets another chance, it will come after the break, but the club could summon Yohan Pino back from Rochester. Or Nolasco, on the disabled list because of an elbow injury, could be ready.

“I hope so,” Johnson said. “I want to get out there again, that’s for sure.”

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Colorado 6, Twins 2

    Friday July 11, 2014

  • Morneau had to be talked into Home Run Derby

    Saturday July 12, 2014

    Justin Morneau wasn’t going to do it. He was going to stay home and not participate in the Home Run Derby.

  • Postgame: Thoughts on Suzuki, Tulowitzki and Twins' lack of offense

    Friday July 11, 2014

    The Twins' three-game winning streak ended on Friday with a loss to Colorado at Coors Field

  • Friday's Twins-Colorado game recap

    Saturday July 12, 2014

    GAME RECAPIMPACT PLAYERTroy TulowitzkiThe Rockies shortstop homered and made a terrific defensive play in the seventh inning.BY THE NUMBERS11 pitch...

  • Kurt Suzuki stayed in Friday’s game after fouling a ball off his left ankle.

  • Colorado’s Brandon Barnes hugged teammate Carlos Gonzalez after hitting a seventh-inning homer off Matt Guerrier, the Rockies’ third home run of their 6-2 victory over the Twins on Friday night.

  • COLORADO 6, TWINS 2

    Up next: 3:10 p.m. Saturday at Colorado • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 2:30 PM
LA Clippers
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 3 1st Half 17:59
Georgetown 4
Maine 5 1st Half 15:10
Seton Hall 9
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Georgia State 12:00 PM
Green Bay
Jacksonville St 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Kentucky 1:00 PM
Louisville
Northern Ky 2:00 PM
Northwestern
UAB 3:00 PM
North Carolina
IUPUI 3:00 PM
Pepperdine
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Oakland 4:00 PM
Maryland
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
SMU 12:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
UCF 2:00 PM
Houston
BYU 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 4:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close