Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins fade late again in another loss to Minnesota Twins

For the second consecutive night, the Minnesota Twins were able to plate late-inning runs and the Marlins were not.

That’s one of the reasons Miami has now lost the first two games of this three-game trek to the Twin Cities.

Minnesota scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh and beat Miami 7-5 at Target Field on Wednesday night.

The Marlins will try to salvage a win against the team with the worst record in the American League on Thursday night.

Miami is now a combined 1-7 against the Atlanta Braves and Twins, the teams with the worst records in Major League Baseball.

“I thought we battled back, had two-out hits,” said Miami manager Don Mattingly, whose team has lost four of five. “To put up five runs in a couple of innings, get back in it quick, I thought we got back in it. Then we couldn’t do anything after that.”

The Marlins have struggled to score late runs for a while now and have put up runs in the seventh inning or later in just five of their past 14 games.

Up 5-4 in the sixth, starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up a solo shot to Byung Ho Park — Minnesota’s seventh homer of the series — to tie things up.

Chen gave way to Nick Wittgren, who shut things down in the sixth but wouldn’t survive the seventh.

That inning started off just fine for Wittgren, as he opened with two quick outs.

Then, all of a sudden, the Twins got things going.

With two outs, Joe Mauer singled then scored on a double off the right-field wall by Trevor Plouffe to give Minnesota a 6-5 lead.

Brian Dozier — the hero of Tuesday night’s win by virtue of his 11th-inning homer — came through again by lining a single off Wittgren that scored Plouffe and gave the Twins a two-run cushion.

After Park singled, Wittgren got the hook, with Mike Dunn coming in and striking out Oswaldo Arcia to end the inning.

But the damage had been done.

Miami trailed 4-0 going into the fifth inning before getting enough to tie it in that frame.

Former Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco — who still owns every major franchise record — kept Miami’s bats in check until the fifth, when the Marlins got things started as J.T. Realmuto doubled off the right-field wall with one out.

Realmuto scored on another single by Ichiro Suzuki (he had three on Wednesday and has five against the Twins in the series) for Miami’s first run. Marcell Ozuna brought the Marlins within one, as his two-out single brought home two. Then Giancarlo Stanton tied it with a single to center for his second hit of the night.

The Marlins took their first and only lead of the night in the sixth when Martin Prado singled in Miguel Rojas with two outs against reliever Michael Tonkin.

But Minnesota battled back, tying the game on its seventh home run of the series as Park put one out with one out in the sixth.

Chen, who was roughed up early but settled in before Park’s blast, lasted one more batter in the sixth as Arcia doubled and Wittgren was summoned. Wittgren got the next two batters out to shut down Minnesota’s threat.

“I didn’t do a good job pitching, and my teammates gave me a lot of support,” Chen said. “I didn’t help them get the win. The problem was on me.”

Miami had one last gasp in the ninth, as Ozuna singled with two outs then took second with Stanton at the plate.

But Stanton, who had his first two-hit game since May 13, struck out swinging as Brandon Kintzler recorded his first big-league save.

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