Three postgame notes from another shockingly rough loss for the Twins:
Paul Molitor used Trevor May to relieve Tyler Duffey in the sixth inning, an attempt to take some pressure off the reliever and see if it helps.
It didn’t. With two runners on base, May surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced, Jose Bautista. Along with a disastrous outing in Detroit on Wednesday, that meant that three of the past four hitters May faced had hit homers. He now has given up five on the season, alarming for a pitcher with only 21 innings; he’s just two behind Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco, each of whom has pitched more than twice as many innings.
Molitor sounds puzzled about May’s 10-day slump, which has pulverized his ERA, from 1.87 on May 10 to 5.14 now.
“You watch the replays and you can see he’s missing location. It’s easier said than done to try to fix that,” Molitor said. “He’s trying to kind of corral the natural ability he has to find a way to get back to getting outs. He’s kind of struggling with his sequence and what he’s using — I saw he broke out the slider tonight, which we hadn’t seen for awhile.”
May also gave up a double to Josh Donaldson immediately after Bautista’s home run, which means he had allowed hits to six consecutive hitters — three homers, two singles and a double. After a wild pitch, he finally got Edwin Encarnacion to end the streak with a fly out to center.
“I’m sure he’s frustrated, but we’ve got to try to find a way to get him back,” Molitor said, “because he’s a valuable arm for us.”
Quite a night for Robbie Grossman, a rather bizarre new source of offense for the Twins. Grossman, out of the majors for more than a calendar year, signed to play for Class AAA Rochester earlier in the week, and suddenly found himself batting seventh for the Twins.
It took him exactly one pitch to make an impact. Grossman laced a fastball from Aaron Sanchez into the left-field corner, a double that scored Miguel Sano from first base. Grossman hadn’t had an RBI double since Sept. 2, 2014.
He wasn’t done. The switch-hitter singled home Danny Santana in the seventh inning, then homered off reliever Chad Girodo in the ninth.
No Twin had contributed three run-scoring hits in a game since Trevor Plouffe last Sept. 11.
Santana, by the way, sounded intrigued by the notion of an inside-the-park home run when I asked him after the game. He launched a ball off the center-field wall in the seventh inning, and had no trouble reaching third base before the ball was even back in the infield.
It was Santana’s second straight two-hit day, and both days included a bunt single. The outfielder rolled a bunt in the third inning that rolled down the foul line but somehow stayed fair, finally bumping into first base long after Santana had run past. Santana now owns five of the Twins’ seven bunt hits this season.
He’s also tied for the Twins’ team lead in triples. With one.