Twins' late rally spoiled in loss to Indians

Twins' late rally spoiled in loss to Indians

Twins' late rally spoiled in loss to Indians
MINNEAPOLIS -- It was the type of loss that has come to signify the Twins' struggles this season through 35 games.

The Twins were able to overcome a so-so start from right-hander Carl Pavano with a late rally, but ultimately fell flat, as Shin-Soo Choo provided a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning off closer Matt Capps in a 5-4 defeat to the Indians on Monday at Target Field.

It was the Twins' eighth loss by one run and dropped them further into the American League Central cellar at 10-25, as they now trail the first-place Indians by nine games.

"It's tough," designated hitter Ryan Doumit said. "Any loss is tough, but everyone is battling. It's just one of those games. We're out there trying. Nobody wants to win more than us. We're battling and everyone has each other's backs. Tonight was a great game and we just fell short."

Doumit was the one who gave the Twins the big boost in the eighth, crushing a game-tying, two-run homer off reliever Nick Hagadone after Josh Willingham doubled home Denard Span.

But it wasn't enough, as Capps served up an RBI single to Choo with two out in the ninth, after giving up a single to Casey Kotchman and throwing a wild pitch that allowed him to reach second base.

"The last pitch to Choo just ran back over the middle of the plate," Capps said of the 3-2 fastball. "I made a nice pitch just two pitches before that kind of froze him, and so I tried to throw that same pitch, but it kind of leaked over a little bit and ran back over the middle of the plate."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire defended his decision to go to Capps in that situation, as there was no longer a save opportunity the rest of the game and Capps had a streak of five straight scoreless outings entering the game.

"He's been lights out," Gardenhire said. "Here's our closer. We give him the ball in the ninth inning like that. That's who goes out there. Always has and always will be. [Capps] just didn't get it done."

It came after Pavano, who underwent an MRI exam on his right shoulder earlier in the week, continued to battle despite being bothered by a strain in the front of his shoulder. He showed better velocity -- hitting as high as 89 mph with his fastball -- but still allowed four runs on six hits over six innings

Pavano was lifted after just 72 pitches, which has become customary for him, as he's thrown just 69, 62 and 72 pitches over his last three outings totaling 16 innings.

"I felt pretty good," Pavano said. "I felt pretty consistent. That one inning happened pretty quick scoring two runs, and then I hung that changeup. But other than that, I thought I commanded the ball pretty well. But it's tough to give up four runs and give your team a chance to win."

Pavano breezed through the first three frames before giving up two runs in the fourth keyed by a ground-rule double from Asdrubal Cabrera after a single from Jason Kipnis. Travis Hafner brought home the first run with an RBI groundout before Carlos Santana added a sacrifice fly.

Cleveland added two more runs on one swing of the bat from Kotchman in the fifth, as the first baseman connected on his third homer of the season after a double from Jose Lopez.

Minnesota scored first with a run in the third, when Darin Mastroianni scored on a wild throw from catcher Carlos Santana over Lopez's head at third base as he attempted to reach third on a passed ball.

But it was all the Twins could muster against Gomez, who allowed just one unearned run on three hits over seven strong innings.

"Gomez did a very good job," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He went out there and threw lots of strikes with good life on his fast ball. He got a lot of ground balls -- actually 11 groundouts. He did a good job especially against the left-handed hitters that he saw tonight. I feel bad for him. I'm glad we were able to come back, but he should have gotten a win out of that."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.