MILWAUKEE – Jose Berrios walked slowly off the mound after the seventh inning Wednesday and kicked at the dirt near the foul line as catcher Mitch Garver came over and put his arm around the righthander.
The Twins had tied the score 1-1 in the top of the inning, but Berrios gave up a pair of solo home runs in the bottom half. Predictably, they ended up being crushing blows.
“I needed him to know that, listen man, you’re good. We got you. You keep throwing like you are throwing, we are going to be fine,” Garver said. “Today is not the end of the world. A little encouragement, because he did throw well.”
Berrios isn’t the only one in despair, as the Twins’ season has fallen apart, with moments like Wednesday’s — when they play well enough to barely lose — happening too frequently.
This time, the Twins lost 3-2 to the Brewers, who scored all of their runs on solo homers off Berrios. The Twins finished 1-8 on their road trip, losing their last six games. They also have dropped eight of their past nine and 11 of their past 13.
Travis Shaw led off the second inning by driving a 1-0 pitch off the second deck in right for his 15th homer of the season. Berrios proceeded to pitch four scoreless innings and was rewarded in the seventh when Brian Dozier led off with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Jorge Polanco’s bloop single to left.
But Brad Miller hit a 2-0 fastball out to right. Two batters later, Nate Orf got his first major league hit, a home run to left on a fat 2-2 breaking ball. And the Brewers led 3-1, leading to Berrios’ dejected walk.
“I felt bad,” said Berrios, who tied a career high in giving up three home runs. “As a pitcher, you never want to lose and we had the chance to win the game and they hit the two homers. But after that I tried to keep it together and keep pushing.”
Dozier blasted a Corey Knebel pitch to center with one out in the ninth that was headed over the fence before a leaping Keon Broxton robbed him of a homer. Eduardo Escobar followed with a home run to right to make it 3-2. Then Polanco singled, but Max Kepler flied out to end the game. The Twins are now 4-16 in one run games.
“We’re creating some of our own problems,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “At the same time, we’re not catching a lot of breaks.”
Win or lose, the Twins were heading home following a defining moment in their season. They won one game in Chicago against the White Sox and Cubs. They scored 25 runs in three games against the Cubs but lost them all. Then they were 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position while losing three games to the Brewers.
And it was during this 1-8 road trip that it was learned that the front office intends to be sellers before the July 31 trade deadline and prepare for 2019.A frustrated team is headed back to the Twin Cities looking to regroup.
“It’s leadership, it’s professionalism, it’s veterans,” Molitor said. “There’s a lot of things we’re going to need to lean on here. It always seems a little more dire when you’re in the moment. You’ve got to find a way to dig yourself out.
“This game’s about people that can rebound when you get entrenched into a little bit of a hole. We’re going to have to try to find a way to respond. That’s just how the game goes.”