Twins miss key hit again, another 3-2 loss to Cardinals wraps up 1-4 trip



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ST. LOUIS — For the second straight game, the Minnesota Twins fell just short of success.

Consecutive 3-2 losses to the St. Louis Cardinals lessen the heartache of a 1-4 trip, if only somewhat. The Cardinals have the best record in the majors and the Twins remained in striking distance in the AL Central.

"We had a bad trip, but it's not like we're getting too down," leadoff man Brian Dozier said after Tuesday's rain-delayed setback. "We've put ourselves in a really good spot so when we go through slumps like this it doesn't affect us as much as it has been."

The Twins totaled 12 hits the first two games of the home-and-home series that shifts to Minnesota Wednesday and Thursday.

"St. Louis, we know, has a knack for finding a way to win those kinds of games," manager Paul Molitor said. "It's a tough loss because we had our chances.

"We couldn't get the big hit when we needed it," Molitor said.

The Twins had the tying run on second with one out in the seventh and Kurt Suzuki didn't budge.

Rookie Byron Buxton was easily thrown out stealing by Yadier Molina after reaching on an infield hit leading off the eighth.

Pinch- hitter Eduardo Escobar flied out with two on and two outs in the ninth.

Starter Kyle Gibson (4-5) starred at Missouri and is from Greenfield, Indiana. The right-hander left about 75 tickets for family and friends and noted "a lot of my wife's relatives probably have never seen me pitch, other than on TV."

Gibson allowed three runs in six innings and bemoaned only one pitch, a sinker that stayed up and got too much of the plate on Mark Reynolds' two-run single in the third that put St. Louis up 3-0.

"I've just been doing that too much recently," Gibson said. "When you get yourself in that position righty on righty, no need to give the guy something to hit."

Hours after a federal investigation into possible computer hacking by the Cardinals became public, St. Louis extended its winning streak to five behind Michael Wacha's pitching and Reynolds' hit.

"That doesn't really concern us on the field too much," Gibson said. "They'll have to handle it however they want to handle it.

"For us, it's us against them."

Before the game, manager Mike Matheny said he was in the weight room when he first learned of the investigation into whether the Cardinals had hacked Houston's computer database. The Cardinals then completed a soggy homestand in which three games were delayed and another against Kansas City was postponed until July 23.

St. Louis is 43-22 overall and 26-7 at home, both tops in the major leagues, and matched a franchise best by reaching 43 wins in 64 games.

Minnesota has lost seven of eight.

Wacha (9-2) halted warmups before the first pitch was delayed 45 minutes and didn't return after a 47-minute rain delay with one out in the seventh and the Cardinals leading 3-1. He allowed two runs on three hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Kevin Siegrist stood in for Trevor Rosenthal, who is sidelined by biceps tightness, and pitched the ninth for his third save in four chances.

Molina doubled for his fourth hit in two games and scored on Randal Grichuk's sacrifice fly in the second, and Reynolds' single gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead in the third.

Trevor Plouffe had an RBI double in the first and Kurt Suzuki doubled in a run in the seventh after Seth Maness relieved.

UP NEXT

Tommy Milone worked seven innings his last time out, allowing only a two-run homer to Elvis Andrus. In his only prior appearance against the Cardinals, he matched a career high surrendering three homers on June 30, 2013, in Oakland. With Carlos Martinez pitching, the Cardinals are 10-2. He's 7-2 with a 2.93 ERA in his first year in the rotation.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Rosenthal was unavailable the last three games.

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