By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
It looked as if the Twins had done it again to the Phillies. After Minnesota scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, Philadelphia entered the eighth inning just six outs from being swept.
But the Phillies scored twice off reliever Jared Burton (0-4) in the top of the eighth to recapture the lead, and the Twins couldn’t duplicate their late-game heroics of the two games prior, falling by a 3-2 score. Cliff Lee (8-2) pitched seven innings to get the win for Philadelphia.
“I thought my stuff was really good tonight, and it just didn’t work out,” said Burton, the losing pitcher.
Trailing 2-1 and having already stranded 13 runners, Philadelphia took out their frustrations on the Twins’ set-up man, beginning the eighth with a Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit double, a Ben Revere bunt base hit, and a Michael Young RBI single to tie the game and put runners on the corners.
Jimmy Rollins followed with a slow roller up the first base line. Justin Morneau fielded it and tried to throw out Ben Revere streaking home from third, but didn’t get it there in time. Revere slid in with the eventual winning run, finally giving the former Twin something to smile about in his first trip back to Target Field.
“They didn’t kill any balls,” said manager Ron Gardenhire about the Phillies’ eighth inning. “A bunt base hit and a chopper to first; I don’t think [Burton] was rusty. I think it was just bad luck.”
It’s easy to be lucky when you’ve got great wheels. The speedy Revere finished the game 4-for-6 and went 8-for-14 in the series. Luckily for the center fielder, his big day at the plate overshadowed a key play he could not make in the outfield.
With Minnesota down 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Morneau came to the plate with two on and two out against Lee, who had been untouchable to that point.
Morneau sent a line drive toward Revere in the left center field gap that he chose to dive for instead of field on a hop. The ball landed and bounced past Revere, allowing Ryan Doumit to score all the way from first base and give Minnesota the lead at 2-1.
“We were all yelling ‘Get down,’ said Gardenhire when asked about Morneau’s double. “That’s about the most damage you could do against [Lee] tonight… That was a big play.”
The Twins were only in the game because of the Phillies’ abysmal hitting with runners on base and starter Kevin Correia’s bend-but-not break mentality. The right-hander finished five innings, but required 112 pitches to do so.
“It was a battle for him, “said Gardenhire. “He wasn’t very sharp, but he kept it to a minimum.”
Said Correia, “They fought off some pitches and got some hits later in innings that extended the pitch count… It was just one of those games.”
The other man toeing the rubber, Lee, was near-perfect for six innings. His only blemish was a single to Joe Mauer who he promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play. Leading up to Morneau’s go-ahead double, Lee let two men on via a Mauer walk and a Doumit infield single.
“Throwing against a guy like Cliff Lee, you know, he’s one of the best,” said Correia after the game. “He’s been one of the best for a long time. You don’t have the luxury of giving up many runs.”
The win for Lee was his sixth since May 1, and the lefty is undefeated in that span.
Despite watching the bullpen give up a lead for the third time in four games, Gardenhire fully supported his relief pitchers in the post-game press conference.
“I have total confidence in that bullpen,” said the manager. “They’ve been doing it for us all year long. Total confidence in them.”
“These guys have been very, very good for us all year and with a lot of pressure put on them.”
Minnesota will feel some pressure over the weekend as they face division-leading Detroit for three games. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. on Friday from Target Field.
NOTES: The 16 runners left on base for Philadelphia were two shy of the National League record… The Phillies were held without a home run for the entire series after homering in 14 straight games leading up to it… The Twins dropped their fourth game of the year when leading after seven innings.