MIAMI – This was expected to be a nice two-day business trip for the Twins as they took their talents to South Beach to work over a Marlins team with a .333 winning percentage.
“You can’t take any major league team for granted,” Twins righthander Kevin Correia said.
In the Twins’ case, they can make any major league team into a winner when they apply self-inflicted damage like they did Tuesday night.
The Twins sputtered to a 4-2 loss to the suddenly Flying Fish, the Marlins scoring all of their runs over their final three innings at the plate. The Twins bullpen, which entered the game with a tidy 2.83 ERA, gave up the final two runs. The defense committed a season-high three errors.
With one game left against Miami, the Twins have lost three of their past four games, clinching a losing road trip.
“Tip your hats to them,” said Twins lefthander Brian Duensing, who gave up a solo home run to Derek Dietrich in the seventh that turned out to be the winning blow. “They beat us.”
The Marlins, managed by former Twins catcher Mike Redmond, won for only the 26th time in 76 games. But they have won seven of their past 11 games, which makes them Redmond’s Red Hots.
The Twins led 1-0 on Josh Willingham’s RBI single in the third inning. With the way Correia was surfing through innings, it looked as if it could hold up.
The righthander needed only 11 pitches to get through the second and seven in the fourth. Correia (6-5) retired 12 of 13 batters before he lost the lead in the sixth.
The Marlins loaded the bases with one out on a single by Ed Lucas, a walk to Giancarlo Stanton and a single by Logan Morrison. Pitching coach Rick Anderson went to the mound for a chat. Marcell Ozuna then hit Correia’s first pitch to center for a single, driving home Lucas to tie the score. The Twins appeared to have a play on Stanton as he rounded third, but center fielder Clete Thomas mishandled the ball for an error, and Stanton scored for a 2-1 Miami lead.
That was the last of the Twins’ three errors on the night. Pedro Florimon mishandled Ozuna’s grounder in the second inning, and Morrison’s grounder in the fourth went through Justin Morneau’s legs at first.
“You don’t win too many games when you make three errors, whether they cost you runs or not,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It costs your pitchers pitches they have to throw and more stressful innings and that’s what ends up happening.”
Duensing took over in the seventh and gave up a home run on the first pitch to Dietrich — his first home run allowed this season and first in 50 ⅔ innings, going back to Aug. 25, 2012, against Texas.
Trevor Plouffe rolled a single to right in the eighth to score Joe Mauer and get the Twins back to within a run, but it quickly became a two-run game again after Josh Roenicke gave up back-to-back doubles to start the bottom of the inning.
A.J. Ramos (2-2) won for Miami in relief of Jose Fernandez. Steve Cishek earned his 13th save.
It was an uncharacteristic night for the Twins defense and bullpen.
“For the majority of the year we have been pretty good,” Duensing said of the bullpen. “We struggled tonight, and it kind of cost us the game a little bit. But we’re relievers and we’ll get another chance and we have to come back out and have a short memory.’’