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05/20/07 7:41 PM ET
No sweep for Twins over Brewers
Hurting reliever Reyes gives up game-winning hit, takes loss
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- There is a frustration that clearly comes after a team watches an early lead evaporate into a loss.
But following a 6-5 loss to the Brewers on Sunday, manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't just frustrated at his team's inability to hold a lead.
No, the skipper was more upset that he sent a pitcher to the mound in a tie ballgame not knowing that pitcher was hurting. And the fact that it was the hurt pitcher, Dennys Reyes, who gave up the game-winning run certainly poured salt into an already fresh wound.
"Those are the kind of things the manager usually likes to know before the ballgame, but I found out after the ballgame," Gardenhire said of Reyes' injury. "I shouldn't have to put in a pitcher that's not feeling great. Everybody tells you he's going OK and is good to pitch, then afterward he's not feeling good. That ain't right. I do know that, and I'll get to the bottom of it."
It was the left-handed Reyes who got the call in the seventh inning with the game tied at 5. Two of the three batters Reyes was scheduled to face were lefties, and it appeared he was best suited for the situation.
Instead, Reyes' only out came to the one right-hander he saw in his one-third of an inning. A double by Prince Fielder to start the inning was followed by a one-out RBI single by Geoff Jenkins to left field that put the Brewers ahead for good.
Gardenhire said he was informed after the loss that Reyes' tender shoulder had once again flared up. It's a problem that has affected Reyes on and off over the past month, and even led to the team resting him for a week at the start of May.
The feeling around the club had seemed to be that the shoulder was indeed getting better. But Reyes said that when he went into the team's clubhouse on Sunday morning, he informed some of the staff that his shoulder had flared up once again.
"I've been feeling it, and yesterday it was a little bit worse," Reyes said. "Today I couldn't finish my slider, and that's my big pitch for lefties. So something is not right."
But though Gardenhire was upset about the situation with Reyes, the Twins might have been able to avoid it entirely if not for starter Ramon Ortiz's inability to put away the game.
Sitting on a 5-2 lead after the fourth inning, the Twins were on the verge of doing something that seemed unthinkable heading into the weekend in Milwaukee -- completing a series sweep over the National League Central-leading Brewers.
And the Twins felt good about their chances.
That is until the fifth, when Ortiz once again made costly mistakes. The right-hander gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced before Jenkins blasted a three-run homer to center field, his 200th career home run, to make it a tie game. An infield hit by Damian Miller followed, and that was the end for Ortiz.
Ortiz lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing the five runs on 10 hits. It was his second rough start in a row, coming after he went just one inning in Cleveland while giving up six runs. After a fast start to the season, Ortiz is now 0-4 with an 11.74 ERA over his last four starts.
"I don't want to think about the way I pitched in this month," Ortiz said. "That situation is crazy. When you've got games back to back like that and the team picks me up like that and then you can't stop a team? It's crazy."
The Twins sure have suffered their share of troubles lately, and now could be headed toward having a bullpen without a situational lefty in it. Reyes expects to undergo an MRI on his shoulder on Monday in Texas to determine what might be causing the "pinching feeling" he's been experiencing.
If it's bad news, it would be yet another blow to the Twins' bullpen, which has already suffered one on this road trip. The Twins learned on Friday that they would lose Jesse Crain for the year, as he needs season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum and a torn rotator cuff.
Despite all the hits the Twins have been taking of late, the team still leaves Milwaukee with its first series victory in nearly a month. The team saw its bats come alive and got some big pitching performances from its starters not named Ortiz.
So with all the bad news that keeps coming their way, the Twins seemed intent on focusing on the positive.
"This series kind of sparked us a bit, with all the fans being here and just the atmosphere in Milwaukee," said Michael Cuddyer, who homered on Sunday. "I think it kind of rejuvenated us a bit and allowed us to relax and to have fun. Hopefully, we'll be able to carry that now, and I think we will."