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Pirates 8, Twins 7: Happiness dies

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The Twins had a couple chances in this game, but a struggling bullpen doomed them.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It just wasn't meant to be.

The Twins got to Charlie Morton in a peculiar way in the 1st inning. A 2-out (9 pitch) Joe Mauer walk was followed by a balk that moved him to 2nd. Miguel Sano hit a soft grounder to Aramis Ramirez, who made a throwing error allowing Mauer to score. The Twins got a second run off Morton in the 4th after Eddie Rosario tripled and Aaron Hicks drove him in with a grounder.

Mike Pelfrey was solid for the first 3 innings, striking out 3, and only facing 10 batters. He wiggled his way out of the 4th but in the 5th inning the Pirates got to him. Francisco Cervelli and Travis Ishikawa lead off with singles. Jaff Decker laid down a sacrifice bunt to Plouffe, who air-mailed the ball over 1st base, allowing Cervelli to score and Decker to move to 2nd.

With 2 runners in scoring position Eduardo Escobar snagged a hot line drive off the bat of Gregory Polanco. Escobar tried to be a hero again, when he tried to throw out Ishikawa on a Niel Walker grounder. Unfortunately, he was ruled safe at the plate, and the call stood after the Twins challenged, tying the game at 2. It was a close play, but I think he was out, in my totally-not-biased opinion.

The 6th inning didn't start well for Pelfrey. He hit Jung Ho Kang and then walked Pedro Alvarez. With 1st and 3rd and 1 out, Ishikawa singled to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Pelfrey's night was done; Ryan O'Rourke came in and struck out the last two batters to end the inning. Pelfrey's line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.

In the bottom of the 6th, Sano lead off with a walk, and, with 2 outs, Aaron Hicks hit a huge triple down the right field line to score him and tie the game at 3. The Pirates brought in Jared Hughes to face Suzuki, who lined out to third to end the threat. Morton's line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K.

Nothing interesting happened in the 7th, so let's get right to the crazy 8th.

With Casey Fien in and 1 out, Alvarez singled, and so did Cervelli. Brian Duensing was brought in and struck out pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez, then walked Decker to fill the bases. Polanco doubled to right field, scoring three runs, and advanced to 3rd on the throw. To add insult to insult, Neil Walker singled and scored the 4th run of the inning, giving Pittsburgh a 7-3 lead going into the bottom of the 8th.

The Twins are fighters, though. Plouffe, Rosario, and Hicks hit 1 out singles to score a run. Back to back doubles by Suzuki and Escobar scored 3 more runs, and just like that it was a tie game. The Pirates brought in their All-Star closer Mark Melancon. He must be pretty good, because he got Dozier and Hunter out on just 2 pitches to send it to the 9th.

Glen Perkins was tasked to pitch the ninth, hoping to get back on track after a few disappointing outings. But then he threw a slider that was not down enough and caught too much of the plate to Jung Ho Kang and well... he smacked it way out to left center field to give the Bucs an 8-7 lead. If you're into self punishment you can go watch it, or something.

Melancon didn't have much trouble picking up the last 3 outs in the 9th, giving the Twins a 3 game losing streak. The Twins are 3-7 since the All-Star break. In his last 4 outings, Perkins has given up 6 runs and 3 home runs.

Studs:

Hicks (he's really come around), Rosario

Duds:

Bullpen

On a brighter note, Trevor Plouffe's wife is having a baby today. He'll be on paternity leave for some time, Jorge Polanco was called up from Rochester to fill in.

ROLL CALL:

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1 Brandon Brooks 88
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I've never seen the first name "Jaff" ever, kinda strange.