MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have found themselves on the wrong end of close games often this year, and they saw another potential win evaporate late on Saturday.Minnesota fell to the Brewers, 5-4, at Target Field after Christian Yelich crushed the go-ahead homer off Twins reliever Addison Reed in the eighth
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have found themselves on the wrong end of close games often this year, and they saw another potential win evaporate late on Saturday.
Minnesota fell to the Brewers, 5-4, at Target Field after Christian Yelich crushed the go-ahead homer off Twins reliever Addison Reed in the eighth inning. With the loss, Minnesota is 18-23 overall and 3-8 in games decided by one run.
Brewers reliever Josh Hader came on early to record the final seven outs and wipe out any hopes the Twins had of mounting a late comeback. Hader retired Max Kepler in the seventh inning and struck out the side against Minnesota's Nos. 2-3-4 hitters in the eighth.
In the ninth, Robbie Grossman reached on a leadoff walk and Byron Buxton came on to pinch-run for him as the Twins hoped to push the potential tying run into scoring position. Hader responded by fanning Mitch Garver, Ehire Adrianza and Bobby Wilson to end the game.
"It's hard not to be [impressed]," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Hader. "We've seen him a little bit in the past, and obviously you know that his strikeout ratio is getting a lot of attention. … The numbers, they're plenty hard; 93, 95 [mph], but no one seems to be able to time it. I don't know how many swings and misses we had consecutively."
Rookie Fernando Romero battled early control issues to give the Twins five innings on the mound. The 23-year-old struck out two and surrendered four runs (three earned) on three hits. Saturday's start marked the first time this season he has surrendered more than one run in an outing. His ERA now sits at 1.66 through four starts.
Romero nearly escaped danger in the fifth after giving up back-to-back hits to Jonathan Villar and Manny Pina to start the inning, but with two outs, a wild pitch past Wilson behind the plate, allowing Pina to score and tie the game.
"[Romero] hung in there," Molitor said. "But he had a chance to get off the field there in the fifth inning, and he tries to overthrow and gets one by Bobby and they tie the game."
A pair of recent callups -- Wilson and Jake Cave -- gave the Twins all four of their runs. Wilson got Minnesota going earlier in the game when he smashed a two-run double off the wall in left-center field to plate Cave and Logan Morrison, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead in the second inning. Then in the fourth, Cave, who was called up on Saturday with Joe Mauer going on the disabled list, hit a two-run homer off Brewers starter Freddy Peralta.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No-no from LoMo: Morrison led off the the sixth inning with a double, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position with the game tied at 4. But during Grossman's ensuing at-bat, Milwaukee reliever Dan Jennings combined with shortstop Orlando Arcia to pick Morrison off second base, ending a potential no-out rally.
"It didn't look like he was out there that far," Molitor said. "They timed it up nice and the throw and tag were good. It's just one of those things where you're not going anywhere. You've got to risk-reward. It's one of those things. He'll be one of the first to tell you. You can't assume anything. Anytime you're off the base, you're vulnerable and you got to be ready."
CAVE GOES DEEP IN DEBUT
Cave made his Major League debut, starting in center field and batting seventh. He reached base on his first at-bat when he legged out a would-be double-play grounder and beat the throw at first base. He scored two batters later on Wilson's two-run double.
Cave's first Major League hit was a big one. His fourth-inning homer left his bat at 111.4 mph and was the second-hardest-hit long ball by a Twins player this year, trailing only Miguel Sano's 114.6-mph shot from April 25. Cave also became the 11th Twins player to homer in his Major League debut.
"It felt really good," Cave said. "I just wanted to go out there and compete today. To be able to get the barrel on the baseball like that, it's cool. It's everything I thought it would be."
• Cave's first MLB hit a 2-run HR vs. Brewers
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the bottom of the second inning, Cave hit a sharp ground ball to Arcia at shortstop, which was converted into a 6-4-3 double play. However, the Twins challenged the call at first base, and after a short review, Cave was ruled safe, leaving the Twins with runners in the corners and one out. That overturned call extended the inning and allowed Wilson to smash a two-run double to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
The Twins will close out their three-game set with the Brewers on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT. Minnesota will send Jake Odorizzi to the mound, fresh of a May 14 outing in which he held the Mariners scoreless over six innings. Odorizzi will square off with Milwaukee's Junior Guerra, who owns a 6.19 ERA over his last three starts.
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.