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
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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: How confident are you the Twins will improve in 2015?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close