Offense Scuffles, Bullpen Fails, Twins Lose 4-3

The Good: Scott Baker is showing every sign of being the pitcher the Twins want him to be; Danny Valencia, like Earl Weaver before him, understands the value of a 3-run home run.

The Bad: The Twins lineup, which won't be getting Justin Morneau back until mid-August, is not going to give Baker or any other starter much margin for error.

The Ugly: Joe Mauer can't hit major league pitching right now; Jose Mijares just can't, period.

The Twins, reverting to ugly April-May form, combined just enough bad offense with a dash of bullpen incompetence to lose in agonizing fashion, dropping their third straight game, 4-3, to Milwaukee.

Scott Baker gets the loss, despite keeping the Twins in the game while waiting for what qualifies as the Twins offense. Two doubles into the right field corner accounted for two early Brewers runs, but no further damage was done. Some fine defense from Alexi Casilla and a Delmon Young-to-Mauer outfield assist aided the cause.

Meanwhile, the Twins were occasionally getting runners in scoring position against Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf, but squandered those opportunites repeatedly and with vigor. Finally, with Micheal Cuddyer and Delmon Young on base in the 6th, Valencia belted a home run to left to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the 7th, Baker allowed Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan to reach. With two outs, he was pulled for Jose Mijares, who promptly threw three balls, two strikes, and a grooved, middle-in fastball that Prince Fielder laced into the corner to score the winning runs.

The Twins offense was anemic in the 8th and 9th, going 1-2-3 in both innings and looking distressingly like the team we grew accustomed to watching prior to June.

Studs: Baker, Valencia

Duds: Mauer, Nishioka (who is unfamiliar with this "curveball" and doesn't like it one bit), Mijares

Etc.: Jim Thome was added to the roster after the game, with French Resistance fighter Rene Tosoni getting sent down.

This team needs a win tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend, everybody.

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