SAN DIEGO – Paul Molitor left the team hotel Tuesday and headed west toward San Diego International Airport for his morning walk. Along the way, he searched his phone for some theme music.
His selection? “No Surrender,” by Bruce Springsteen, from the 1984 “Born In The USA” album.
“It happened to randomly come across my playlist,” Molitor said. “I said, ‘That’s a good one for today.’ ”
When he arrived at Petco Park to prepare for Tuesday’s game against the Padres, Molitor went up to the whiteboard and wrote, “No retreat, no surrender” — from a key line of the song.
Despite trades of Jaime Garcia and Brandon Kintzler in recent days, Molitor didn’t want anyone in the clubhouse feeling sorry for themselves. The standards remain in place. Play to win.
“The odds get a little longer when you lose a few pieces,” Molitor said, “but it doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish over the past 4½ months.”
Righthander Jose Berrios followed orders, taking a no-hitter into the sixth. But Padres righthander Jhoulys Chacin quieted the Twins bats as San Diego crafted a 3-0 win. Chaska’s own Brad Hand earned his seventh save as the Padres beat the Twins in Petco Park for the first time in six games.
San Diego scored once off Berrios, then added a two-run home run by Austin Hedges to add to the Twins’ miserable West Coast swing. The Twins are now 1-6 on the road trip, the only win coming on Friday when Garcia — who’s no longer with the team — pitched. They also have lost seven of their past eight and eight of their past 10.
The Twins haven’t been getting blown out in games during their swing west, only getting outscored 29-21 in those six losses. But a familiar pattern of missed scoring opportunities and shaky bullpen showed itself again. Opponents have outscored the Twins 17-2 after the fifth inning during the road trip.
“I think guys are trying to maybe do a little too much,” Molitor said. “Or the usual symptoms when you press and try to win games. Try to keep the line moving rather than try to hit a three-run homer, or those type of things. You’re just trying to look for a quality at-bat with runners in scoring position.”
Berrios entered Tuesday with a 5.76 ERA over his previous six starts. But he reverted to his tantalizing form from May, when he was called up from Class AAA Rochester and dominated on the way to a 7-1 start. In seven innings, Berrios held San Diego to one run on two hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
“It’s not fun when you do so well and things don’t go your way,” Berrios said. “We’re definitely still trying to compete.”
His only blemish during the first half of the game was a one-out walk to Carlos Asuaje in the first inning, but he was quickly erased on a double play. Berrios began devouring the Padres. He did receive a couple of generous calls from home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, but he also took advantage of some free-swinging Friars, baffling them with his curveball and blowing 95-miles-per-hour heaters by them.
The run ended in the sixth. So did the tie game.
Hunter Renfroe led off with a chopper to third. Miguel Sano was playing back and did all he could to gather the ball and throw to first, but Renfroe was safe.
Austin Hedges then blasted a 1-1 pitch to right. Max Kepler failed to get a good jump on the ball and it landed just out of his reach for a double, putting runners on second and third.
Chacin tapped to third for the first out. Manuel Margot, named NL player of the week on Monday, lined out to Byron Buxton to center, but it was deep enough for Renfroe to score the first run of the game.
San Diego scored two runs in the eighth when Hedges hit a two-run opposite field home run off Alan Busenitz.