MINNEAPOLIS -- For the first time in his career, Lance Lynn took the mound on Wednesday to face the Cardinals, the team that drafted him. It was not a warm return, as the Cards chased Lynn early and went on to win, 7-5, at Target Field.St. Louis taxed Lynn for
MINNEAPOLIS -- For the first time in his career, Lance Lynn took the mound on Wednesday to face the Cardinals, the team that drafted him. It was not a warm return, as the Cards chased Lynn early and went on to win, 7-5, at Target Field.
St. Louis taxed Lynn for 34 pitches in the first inning and scored two runs on William Fowler's single to take an early lead. Lynn threw 82 pitches and 46 strikes over three innings before giving way to the Minnesota bullpen.
"Lance is still fighting it a little bit, as far as command," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You know, 81 pitches in three innings, that makes it tough. Had a chance to get out of the first after a couple nice strikeouts, but he gave up the Fowler hit. He tried to hang in there as best as he could. We tried to hang around, but they kept adding on and had a couple walks in the seventh that hurt us, trying to keep the game close."
The outing was Lynn's shortest of the season, and it was only the 28th time in 169 career starts that he was unable to reach the fourth inning in a start. His ERA now sits at 7.47.
"I've never done it before, so I just didn't really pay attention to it," Lynn said of facing his former club. "For me, it was another bad start this year, and that's pretty much all I've done so far. So it wasn't any different."
Minnesota's offense came to Lynn's rescue early and cut the deficit to one when Max Kepler roped an RBI single to right field in the first inning. An inning later, Joe Mauer plated Byron Buxton with a single, but St. Louis had added another run at that point on Jose Martinez's run-scoring single in the top of the second.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas entered Wednesday with a tidy 2.51 ERA and the best walks per nine innings ratio in the Majors. The Twins managed to work two walks off of him, but they were unable to capitalize once runners were aboard. Eddie Rosario singled three times within the first five innings, but he was left stranded each time.
Logan Morrison gave the Twins' offense a charge in the sixth when he smashed his fifth homer of the year, a solo shot to left field. But St. Louis responded with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh -- one on a Jedd Gyorko single and another on Matt Carpenter's double.
The Cardinals increased their lead to 7-3 when Tommy Pham homered off of Phil Hughes in the top of the eighth. The Twins added two more runs and loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, and Eduardo Escobar eventually stepped to the plate, representing the go-ahead run. But Bud Norris came on to retire both Escobar and Gregorio Petit to end the threat.
"If you want to look for positives, we kept playing," Molitor said. "We had the go-ahead run up here. We had trouble containing today."
Norris stayed on in the ninth and retired Mauer, James Dozier and Rosario in order to close out the game for St. Louis.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Twins put themselves in position to stage a late rally in the eighth inning. Rosario led off the inning with a walk, and two batters later, Mitch Garver followed with a single to center. Then Morrison came through again for the Twins with an RBI single to plate Rosario and put runners in the corners. Greg Holland then walked Robbie Grossman, and the Cards brought on Norris to face the pinch-hitting Escobar with one out and the bases loaded.
Norris struck out Escobar swinging, but threw a wild pitch to Petit that skipped to the backstop and allowed Garver to score and cut the St. Louis lead to two. But Norris escaped the threat by getting Petit to ground out weakly to short, leaving runners stranded at second and third.
With two singles on Wednesday, Mauer now has 2,025 hits in his Twins career. He passed Harmon Killebrew (2,024) for sixth place on the Twins/Senators' all-time hits list. He trails Rod Carew (2,085) for fifth place on the list.
The Twins will get a day off on Thursday before beginning a three-game home series with the Brewers at 7:10 p.m. CT on Friday. Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.43 ERA) is coming off a strong outing against the Angels on May 12. He will square off with Milwaukee's Brent Suter (2-3, 5.14 ERA).
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.