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Defense, bullpen let Twins down in loss

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

LOS ANGELES -- With the Twins desperate for a win to avoid a sweep at the hands of the red-hot Dodgers, manager Paul Molitor turned to All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler on Wednesday night for his second career five-out save attempt.

But it didn't work out, as Kintzler was hurt by a poor decision on a throw to a vacant first base by center fielder Zack Granite to tie the game in the eighth before he allowed three singles in the ninth in a 6-5 loss to the surging Dodgers.

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LOS ANGELES -- With the Twins desperate for a win to avoid a sweep at the hands of the red-hot Dodgers, manager Paul Molitor turned to All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler on Wednesday night for his second career five-out save attempt.

But it didn't work out, as Kintzler was hurt by a poor decision on a throw to a vacant first base by center fielder Zack Granite to tie the game in the eighth before he allowed three singles in the ninth in a 6-5 loss to the surging Dodgers.

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The Twins couldn't hold a five-run lead in the game, falling to 49-51, leaving them 5 1/2 games back of the Indians in the AL Central and four games back of the second AL Wild Card spot.

"It's tough," Molitor said. "We had a chance to win the game. Same with Monday night, and we had problems closing it out. There are little things that make a difference and they made better plays and came up with bigger hits late."

The biggest play came in the eighth when Kintzler faced Logan Forsythe with one out and runners at first and third.

Forsythe hit a shallow line drive into center with Enrique Hernandez running from first base on the pitch. Granite opted to throw to first base instead of home with Justin Turner tagging up on the play. Granite's throw to first beat Hernandez, but no one was there, allowing Turner to score easily. Granite believed a throw home would've caused Turner to go back to third because it was so shallow.

"He got a pretty good jump on the steal and I saw it out of the corner of my eye," Granite said. "I made the wrong decision, clearly. Instincts took over and I went to first and it clearly wasn't the right choice. I have to go with that home. It's my fault 100 percent. It was a terrible situation to do that in."

After the Twins failed to score in the ninth despite a leadoff double from Max Kepler, Kintzler went back out for the ninth, but he gave up back-to-back singles with one out before getting Corey Seager to ground out weakly to second. With first base open, the Twins opted to go after Turner. Despite getting him down 0-2, Turner battled back to 3-2 before delivering the game-winning hit into left.

"There was some missed location," Kintzler said. "There were a couple seeing-eye singles. I thought the 1-2 pitch [to Turner ] was close to being a strike. I asked if it was in or down and didn't get an explanation on that. On 3-2, he cheated in a little and hit a seeing-eye single."

It was another rough loss for the Twins, who saw top setup reliever Taylor Rogers serve up a go-ahead three-run homer to Cody Bellinger in Monday's loss. Bellinger was on deck in the ninth, but Molitor liked the matchup against Turner better for Kintzler and it didn't work out.

"I tried to play it out the best I could," Molitor said. "You gotta pick your poison. It's one of those things where it's either a guy who is hitting .360 or a guy who has 28 homers. Which way do you want to go?"

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins, Zack Granite, Brandon Kintzler