Brian Dozier started the comeback by driving in a run with a infield hit. Torii Hunter added an RBI single. Then Joe Mauer nearly brought the house down with a three-run homer to right.
“I had so much adrenaline I almost passed out,” Hunter said of the homer.
That explains it. The Twins looked brilliant in the fifth inning when they stormed back with five runs to tie the score against Milwaukee. They played the rest of the game as if their collective tanks had run out of gas.
The Brewers scored early and late to thwart a Twins comeback attempt and take a 10-5 victory at Target Field in first game of a three-game interleague series between the border rivals. Milwaukee blasted three homers and made winning plays, while Hunter misplayed a line drive that resulted in the go-ahead run and the Twins infield could not catch a routine pop-up.
“The game took some strange turns,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Milwaukee scored five runs over the final two innings to win on the road for only the 10th time in 26 games this year.
With the score tied in the eighth inning and Carlos Gomez on second following a two-out double off Blaine Boyer, Molitor turned to lefthander Aaron Thompson to get out Adam Lind, who hit a three-run homer in the third.
Thompson hung a breaking ball, and Lind nailed it to right. Hunter ran over to catch it, and he can tell you the rest.
“He hit it, line drive in the lights,” Hunter said. “And it stayed in the lights. If it’s on a line, it is going to stay in there. All I could do is make the adjustment, jump as high as I could on the run. But, that was hit hard.”
The ball sailed over Hunter’s reach and to the wall as Gomez trotted home for a 6-5 Milwaukee lead.
“Tough play for an outfielder,” Molitor said. “It’s one of those ones that freezes you then it is taking off.”
The Twins weren’t done yet. After Casey Fien replaced Thompson, Jonathan Lucroy popped up in front of the mound. The inning should have been over. Fien and catcher Kurt Suzuki hovered near the ball as Mauer closed in from first and Trevor Plouffe arrived from third. Suzuki made a late dive to catch the ball, but he missed, and the ball kicked off him and rolled away enough for Lind to rumble home and make it 7-5.
“ You would hope that someone would take charge and recognize what we need to do to make that catch,” Molitor said.
Milwaukee added three more runs in the ninth when Gerardo Parra was hit by a Brian Duensing pitch with the bases loaded and Lind added a two-run single, giving him six RBI for the night.
Before that, the Twins were trying to craft their 12th comefrom-behind victory of the season and second in as many days. Kyle Gibson put the Twins in a 5-0 hole by giving up leadoff homers to Jean Segura in the first inning and to Lucroy in the second, and then a three-run homer to Lind in the third that was estimated at 431 feet to right.
“After that third inning I was walking through the hallway a little frustrated with myself,” Gibson said. “I told myself, ‘You have a job to do and that is to put up a couple of zeroes and give the team a chance to fight back.’ ”
Gibson settled down to pitch seven innings while striking out a career-high nine batters. The Twins did come back, but then threw it away.
And that’s back-to-back sloppy ballgames for the Twins, who won at Boston 8-4 on Thursday despite some early mistakes that put them in a 4-0 hole.
“We have people who are aware,” Molitor said. “I don’t think they like to have that feeling of missed plays that can turn ballgames. We recovered yesterday. Today we didn’t. They like to play cleanly. They like to play crisply. And those plays will bite you.’’