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Twins do Milone no favors in uneven outing

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Left-hander Tommy Milone didn't get much help from his defense in the Twins' 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Friday night, as Minnesota tied a season high with three errors that resulted in three unearned runs charged to Milone in his first start since May 3 after being recalled from Triple-A.

Milone didn't help his own cause, either, submitting an uneven outing in which he struggled with his command and made a key mental lapse in the field that played a significant factor in the Yankees' go-ahead two-run rally in the fourth.

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NEW YORK -- Left-hander Tommy Milone didn't get much help from his defense in the Twins' 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Friday night, as Minnesota tied a season high with three errors that resulted in three unearned runs charged to Milone in his first start since May 3 after being recalled from Triple-A.

Milone didn't help his own cause, either, submitting an uneven outing in which he struggled with his command and made a key mental lapse in the field that played a significant factor in the Yankees' go-ahead two-run rally in the fourth.

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"A lot of just misses putting hitters in better counts," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "We talked about the need before the game to try to pitch ahead, and it didn't work out. The misplays hurt, but pitching from behind didn't help."

Milone threw only 41 of his 77 pitches for strikes and fell behind 13 of the 21 hitters that he faced, including five of the six hitters in a 23-pitch third inning.

Command is something that the left-hander has struggled with all season long: Although he has struck out 20 hitters against just nine walks, his pitch counts have frequently soared, which have prevented him from making it through the fifth inning in four of his five starts.

"I felt pretty good coming out of the gate, and I felt maybe a little too good," Milone said. "Coming back in that second inning, I just didn't feel the same. I still felt pretty good, but the command just wasn't as good."

The two-run third inning wasn't entirely Milone's fault. The Twins committed two errors in the frame -- an Eduardo Escobar fielding error and a Robbie Grossman throwing error -- that ultimately led to two runs with two outs. But Milone lamented his inability to get the third out.

"From my point of view, I need to do a better job of eliminating those unearned runs," Milone said. "I had a good opportunity there in the [third] inning to get out of it and I let two score with two outs. That's unacceptable. I've got to do a better job of that."

Milone was directly involved in the Twins' final miscue in the fourth. Although Joe Mauer was able to knock down a sharp ground ball hit to first by Aaron Hicks, Milone failed to cover first base on the play, allowing Hicks to reach and load the bases with nobody out, charging Mauer with his first error of the season.

"I should have been there, 100 percent," Milone said. "I guess I just paused and it was just too late."

New York went to score two runs in the frame to take the lead for good.

All of that contributed to a bigger recent issue for not only Milone, but entire staff: An inability to hold opponents scoreless after Minnesota puts up runs.

"Instead of just going out there and pitching, we've maybe been thinking about it a little bit too much," Milone said. "I think the goal is just to go out there and keep pitching and keep the team in the game."

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minnesota Twins