MINNEAPOLIS -- Much of the Twins' success this season has been buoyed by their ability to come through in clutch situations with their offense and their bullpen.
But it wasn't the case on Saturday, as the Twins went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, and the bullpen gave up three late runs in a 4-2 loss to the Brewers at Target Field. It handed the Twins their first series loss since dropping two of three against the Tigers from May 12-14.
The Twins couldn't come through with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth, and also stranded Eddie Rosario at third base in the seventh. It came back to haunt them with Carlos Gomez connecting on a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth off Blaine Boyer and an RBI double off Tim Stauffer in the ninth after an error from Trevor Plouffe.
"We haven't been doing too well situationally of late, which is something we were excelling at for a while," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "But it's not uncommon where you're going to go through battles where you don't get the big hit when you need them."
Their biggest opportunity to cash in against Brewers right-hander Matt Garza came in the fifth after Garza didn't field a bunt from Chris Herrmann to load the bases. But Aaron Hicks popped up to second on a breaking ball up in the zone before Danny Santana grounded into an inning-ending double play on the 10th pitch of his at-bat.
"Hicks' popup, I think he was just a little antsy to try to drive those runs home instead of being patient," Molitor said. "Danny had a really good battle and saw every pitch possible and fouled off I don't know how many. But then he does something he doesn't do frequently, and hits into a double play and it's the worst possible thing that could happen to us in that situation."
The Brewers moved over both runners with a sacrifice bunt, but the Twins elected to pitch to Gomez with reliever Boyer and it backfired. Gomez hit a first-pitch slider to left to bring home both runs and finished the day 4-for-4 with three RBIs against his former club.
"Everyone knows you have [Jonathan] Lucroy and [Ryan] Braun coming up with an open base, but you're hoping with his free swinging he strikes out or hits it on the infield," Molitor said. "The design was to get him to expand a little bit. We got him to expand down, but not far enough away."