Twins squander Robbie Grossman’s grand slam, fall to Brewers in 10 innings
MILWAUKEE The Twins frittered away a four-run lead, with closer Fernando Rodney giving up the tying run in the ninth, before Zach Littells bases-loaded walk in the 10th handed the Brewers a 6-5 victory Monday night.
Smarting from losing five of six games in Chicago to the White Sox and Cubs, the Twins entered their series against the Brewers looking for a fresh start and a chance rest a beleaguered bullpen.
And somewhere with a heat index under 106.
Just a change of venue, better conditions, Twins manager Paul Molitor said. You want to see your team respond in terms of energy and ready to take on a challenge of another series against a good team here on the road in an interleague game. Those three games took a toll on everybody.
They immediately found themselves in another tight game, as their four-run lead shrank to one by the late innings against a Brewers team that began the day leading the Cubs by one-half game in the NL Central division.
Twins righthander Kyle Gibson lasted just five innings after doing it all for the Twins during the first half of the game.
Gibson prides himself on being a complete player. But everyone thought he meant pitching and defending his position.
Add hitting to his skills, as he singled to center in the third inning and eventually scored on a groundout that allowed the Twins to tie the score at 1-1.
Second base umpire Joe West took the ball out of play and threw it toward the Twins dugout, presuming it was Gibsons first major-league hit. But Gibson had two hits in 16 at-bats before Monday.
Gibson batted again in the fifth inning and singled to left, his first multi-hit game ever. Eddie Rosario beat out an infield hit. Then Brian Dozier singled to left to load the bases. Gibson was held up at third when most other players would have been waved home.
Brewers pitching coach Derek Johnson went to the mound to talk with righthander Brent Suter. Surely, he didnt advise him to throw an 84-mph fastball over the heart of the plate. But Suter did, and Robbie Grossman, who rarely swings at the first pitch, homered to left-center for his first career grand slam and 5-1 Twins lead.
Milwaukee returned fire with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Manny Pina led off with a home run, Brad Miller hit an RBI single then Jonathan Villar scored when Ryan Brauns hot grounder ate up Willians Astudillo for an error. Brewers second baseman Nate Orf, making his major league debut, flied out to end the inning.
The state of the Twins bullpen was revealed in that inning when Matt Belisle began to warm up. Belisle normally is used in mop-up duty, but with a few pitchers in need of rest, the Twins were on the verge of bringing in Belisle and his 9.39 ERA since joining the Twins.
But Gibson made it through the fifth. Addison Reed pitched a scoreless sixth. Zach Duke got two outs in the seventh, but Jesus Aguilar reached on a single to beat the shift.
Molitor then went to Trevor Hildenberger to face Braun. Braun went after a first pitch slider and popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
Rodney came on in the ninth with the one-run lead, and promptly gave up three consecutive one-out singles. A sacrifice fly by Travis Shaw tied the score 5-5.