By Joe Christensen
CLEVELAND — The Twins comeback fell short in a 4-2 loss to Cleveland today, and there were two big missed chances.
After scoring two runs in the seventh inning, the Twins had one out and the bases loaded, with Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel due up, when Indians manager Eric Wedge summoned lefthander Tony Sipp.
The Twins are used to seeing LHP Rafael Perez in those situations. Sipp was just called up from Class AAA Columbus on Wednesday. He struck out Morneau with a 94-mph fastball, and got Kubel to wave at an 85-mph slider.
“You tip your hat to the kid because he made good pitches, and also, he had the little advantage that we hadn’t seen him,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Then in the ninth, the Twins put the first two runners aboard against Cleveland closer Kerry Wood. Gardenhire said he considered having Denard Span bunt the runners over but opted against it, and Span grounded into a 4-6-3 double play before Brendan Harris struck out, ending the game with Morneau in the on-deck circle.
“Span is a very good fastball hitter,” Gardenhire said. “So I probably could have bunted them over and taken a shot there — if we get it down with a guy throwing 94. You don’t know if that’s going to happen either.
“But taking a shot and at least getting Morneau to the plate, that’s the only disappointing part. But we elected to — or I elected to — let him swing there. But the young man out there, Mr. Wood, throws the ball very, very hard.”