Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Postgame: A repeat of Morneau's farewell?

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: July 31, 2014 - 12:11 AM

    Some leftover impressions from the Twins' frustrating 3-2 loss Wednesday:

    MORNEAU REDUX? If that was Josh Willingham's final game as a Twin -- rumors on Wednesday had the Mariners and Yankees still interested in the 35-year-old outfielder -- he made it a memorable one. And a familar one, too. Willingham led off the second inning with a blast that carried over the Royals' bullpen in left field, the sort of tape-measure home run that only he has provided since the Twins dealt away Justin Morneau last August. Morneau's final game included a home run, off Yu Darvish, in Texas, which would make for an odd coincidence if a trade happens Thursday. Willingham wasn't done, however; as if to drive his price tag even higher, the slow outfielder took off for second base in the fourth inning on the back end of a double-steal -- his first stolen base (and first attempt) since April 27, 2013. But given a chance to put the Twins back in the lead in the seventh inning, Willingham couldn't catch up to a Kelvin Herrera fastball that was timed at 101 mph.

    FAST ATTACK: Phil Hughes was retiring the Royals with few problems through the fifth inning, but something changed in the sixth. The change was on the part of the Royals, not him, Hughes said. He was certain, he said, that the Royals had discussed changing their approach for their third time through the order. "They had seen that once I got ahead [in the count], I could do some other things, and I liked to get ahead with my fastball. So they made the adjustment to jump on first-pitch fastballs, and it ended up being a good decision." Sure did. Only one Royals hitter had put a first pitch in play over the first five innings, but four straight hitters took a cut at the first pitch of their at-bats in the sixth. Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas collected RBI doubles on first pitch fastballs, and Alex Gordon got one after fouling off a pitch.

    OH, WON'T YOU STAY? Speaking of Hughes, the righthander made one more plea on behalf of the pitching staff in favor of keeping Kurt Suzuki on the roster. Suzuki may be the Twins' most tradeable asset, considering he's had an All-Star season and is on a cheap one-year contract. But "from my end, I want him here the rest of the year," Hughes said when asked about his catcher after the game. "He's a great game-caller. It's easy to go through sequences when your catcher knows you so well. There's not a lot of second-guessing or shaking off. I think that's been the biggest impact for me."

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