Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 8-7 loss to Pittsburgh.

PLOUFFE TO MISS A COUPLE OF GAMES: Trevor Plouffe has left the team to go on paternity leave. His his wife Olivia is going to give birth to the couple's first child on Wednesday. The Twins have called up infielder Jorge Polanco from Class AAA Rochester to take his place on the roster. Sounds as if Plouffe will take a couple of days for the great event. This could enable Miguel Sano to get some time in at third base. Polanco is batting .284 in 22 games since joining Rochester. The Twins could look at him at short.

THEY NEED BULLPEN HELP, BUT.....This wasn't the game that illustrates that issue. Well, Casey Fien wasn't too sharp. But if Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins do their jobs, the Twins probably win that game. It happens to the best of them. Tony Watson has been nails for Pittsburgh and he was hit around in the eighth inning by the resilient Twins. But, yes, the Twins do need help to get the ball to Perkins in the ninth. I'm not overlooking that. When what can you do when your best relievers have bad games?

HICKS STAYS HOT: Aaron Hicks was 2-for-3 with three RBI on Tuesday and is batting .356 over his past 18 games. He's making a case to slide into that two-hole in the batting order. And he robbed Gregory Polanco of extra bases in the third when he leaped into the wall to grab Polanco's deep drive. Polanco, by the way, hit the ball hard all night.

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Buxton back swinging, Twins get started vs. Pirates

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Plouffe on paternity leave as Twins take on Pirates