Twins show resolve in opener, but can't complete comeback
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a road trip through Kansas City and Seattle that saw them post a 3-3 record after taking two of three from the Mariners, the Twins headed home feeling good entering their three-game set with the Tigers.
But the Twins quickly found themselves in a hole on Monday, as left-hander Tommy Milone gave up four runs in the first inning on a pair of homers from Jose Iglesias and Yoenis Cespedes. And with Tigers ace David Price on the mound, the Twins knew they wouldn't have any easy road back. Minnesota did rally late, scoring in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn't come through in the ninth against closer Joakim Soria in a 5-4 loss at Target Field.
Twins manager Paul Molitor liked his team's resolve considering the circumstances, but it was another tough loss against the first-place Tigers.
"You come home after a good finish to a trip and you know you have a chance to play the team leading your division and you hope to have a good start, but it didn't work out that way obviously," Molitor said. "We tried to rally the troops as best as we could every inning. You could see Price's pitch count starting to mount, so it was about staying with it and grinding and getting to the bullpen. All those things worked out except we weren't able to tie it at the end."
Price, coming off a rough start against the Yankees, wasn't his usual dominant self, but he did just enough, giving up three runs over 6 1/3 innings.
Video: [email protected]: Plouffe hits RBI single past diving Iglesias
The Twins scored in the first on a two-out RBI single from Trevor Plouffe, but didn't score again until the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier. Minnesota knocked Price from the game with a one-out RBI single from Danny Santana on Price's 108th pitch of the game.
"He had average stuff and didn't locate the ball well," Dozier said. "So I'll take three runs against him just about any time we face him. We were on every pitch, but just missed some balls and they didn't. They caught a few more breaks than us. That's all it is."
The Twins got to Detroit's bullpen, scoring in the eighth on a two-out RBI single from Kurt Suzuki. After Suzuki, Molitor went with the switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar as a pinch-hitter over Oswaldo Arcia and Kennys Vargas, as he didn't want a lefty to come in to face Arcia or to have to use a pinch-runner for Vargas if he got on. Escobar lined out to end the inning.
Jordan Schafer led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Soria, and was bunted over to second by Santana, but Dozier struck out and Torii Hunter grounded out to end the game.
"It was tough right from the get-go, but at the same time good offensive teams and good teams, in general, find a ways to win," Dozier said. "So they just caught a few more breaks than we did."