Three extras from another long night at Target Field:
Tommy Milone was understandably discouraged by his outing Friday night, retiring only four hitters while coughing up a 5-0 lead. “[I was] just struggling to have any feel. Obviously, I don’t want to be able to throw strikes, but I don’t want to be throwing the ball over the middle of the plate, either,” said Milone, who has allowed 12 runs over five innings in his last two starts. “It’s just a matter of falling behind, having to throw strikes. If you get too much of the plate, big-league hitters are going to square it up.”
Now the question is, will Milone make his next start? The Twins are already uncertain what to do about Phil Hughes, who didn’t look sharp Tuesday, his first action in five weeks.
It’s too soon to make any decisions, manager Paul Molitor said.
“I’m not sure how that’s going to play out. We’ve got him scheduled for the Cleveland series,” Molitor said. “I said all along, [our rotation is written] more in pencil.”
Torii Hunter, who had two hits, three RBIs, his 351st career home run and a tremendous, sprawling catch of an Albert Pujols foul ball, was quick to point out that as hard as Thursday’s loss was — as tough as the Twins’ three-game losing streak has been, actually — the team has to remember that it’s still well within reach of a postseason berth.
“As far as we’ve come, when everybody ruled us out and we’re here in September playing for something, there’s no self-pity. We’re excited. We’re happy,” Hunter said. “We’re still in the thick of things. Texas won, Houston lost and we’re still a game and a half back. So we’re still sitting in a good seat. Have fun. Have amnesia.”
Lost in the long, drawn-out night were a couple of milestones for Twins players. After Brian Dozier’s first-inning popup was lost in the sun by the Angels’ infield and fell for a double, Joe Mauer lined a single to right field to score the Twins’ first run. It also was the 37th consecutive game that Mauer has reached base, setting a new career high, and putting him within five games of Bob Allison’s franchise record of 42 straight games, set in 1961. Next up for Mauer: He can equal Paul Molitor’s 1996 record of 38 straight games on Friday.
Later in the inning, Eddie Rosario followed Torii Hunter’s three-run homer with a shot to the wall in center field, a hit that he stretched to a triple when the relay to third bounced away. It was the rookie’s 13th triple of the season, a remarkable number; in fact, only two rookies in the past 50 years have had more. Juan Samuel racked up 19 triples for the Phillies in 1984, and Ray Lankford had 15 for St. Louis in 1991.
Just three Twins have ever had more than 13 triples in a season, too: Cristian Guzman (three times), Rod Carew and Chuck Knoblauch.