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: Defensive gems; a walk-off winner that wasn't; another tough loss

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: April 24, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Some leftover thoughts on the Twins 6-5 loss to the Red Sox:

* It was especially disappointing for the Twins because they made several good defensive plays. I circled four on my scorecard: Jamey Carroll’s sliding stop and throw to second base on David Ortiz in the second inning; Denard Span’s sliding catch on Kevin Youkilis in the fourth; Danny Valencia ranging to get Marlon Byrd’s bouncer in the fifth, and the 6-4-3 double play that brought the crowd to its feet in the sixth.

That one was just sick. David Ortiz hit a hard smash up the middle. Carroll made a diving stop, flipped to Trevor Plouffe, who caught the ball with his bare hand and made a running, off-balance throw to first in time for the out.

“Jamey made the diving stop, and I was running, and we made eye contact and I said, ‘Give me the ball, let’s do it,’ ” Plouffe said. “It was a great play -- fun to be a part of. It’s fun to play with Jamey out there.”

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine thought that play could have been a game changer.

“When David hit that ball and they turned a DP -- as hot as he was, and they make a spectacular play to turn a DP -- that usually ends the game,” Valentine said. “That usually sends a team home. It didn’t send us home, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

* The Twins thought Plouffe won the game for them in the ninth inning. With one out, and pinch-runner Clete Thomas on first base, Plouffe hit a long drive off Alfredo Aceves, but Cody (Boss) Ross settled under it just in front of the 377-foot sign on the left-center field warning track.

“When it made a sound off the bat, it sounded like he crushed it,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “This night, a little dampness out there, the ball just died. I thought he got it pretty good. I think everybody did."

* The Twins are 5-12, but five of those losses have been by one or two runs.

“We’re close,” Plouffe said. “We’re gelling as a team. There are times when we’re together and we’re pretty tough to beat. I think one thing we need to do better is just hit better with runners in scoring position. We put ourselves in good situations and have opportunities, but lately we haven’t really been coming through. Teams that win games, they hit in those situations.”

Indeed, as it says in the Twins postgame notes, they are batting .170 (8-for-47) with runners in scoring position over their past five games.

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