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: Beckett walks fine line; Punto hears cheers; Morneau 1-for-16 with RISP

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: April 25, 2012 - 12:05 AM

Leftover thoughts following the Twins latest loss, this one 11-2 to the Red Sox.

* Josh Beckett told reporters he didn’t want to go into his first-inning exchange with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson. You can argue that Beckett should have been tossed, since questioning ball-strike calls usually leads to an automatic ejection (as Denard Span can attest from last week’s “That was a strike?” moment with Greg Gibson). But Johnson clearly had a longer fuse, at least in this case with a veteran pitcher.

* Nick Punto, in his first appearance at Target Field as a visiting player, got a pretty nice ovation when he went up to pinch hit for Kevin Youkilis in the eighth inning.

“It felt really good to be cheered like that,” Punto said. “I didn’t know what to expect. It just caught me off guard. I spent seven years here. That’s a long time, and to have them show that type of appreciation, it really felt good.

* Rating the Twins concerns on a scale of 1-to-10, I’d put starting pitching at a 9 and their struggles with runners in scoring position at about a 3.

At last check, they ranked 15th out of 30 MLB teams with a .237 average with RISP. But over the past six games, it’s .158.

Justin Morneau had three chances tonight. He drew a 10-pitch walk against Beckett in the first inning, forcing home a run, which was probably the high point of the night for the Twins. But he lined out softly to shortstop in the third inning and flied out to left field in the fifth.

Morneau is now 1-for-16 (.063) with RISP.

“There’s not a whole lot of moral victories,” Morneau said. “I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball hard and right at people. In this game the only thing that matters is the results. You can break three bats and get three hits, and that’s a good day. You can square up three balls and make three outs, and it doesn’t mean anything.”


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