The Minnesota Twins found all kinds of opportunities to win this game, and the series, against the Kansas City Royals.
Chris Parmelee was in the middle of most of the misses.
David Lough hit three doubles, then launched a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning that gave the Royals enough to beat the Twins 9-8 on Sunday.
"We scored eight runs. That should be enough to win the game," said starter Kevin Correia, who gave up five runs in five innings.
Yes, Correia fell behind 5-1 after a rocky fourth. And relievers Ryan Pressly, Jared Burton (1-5) and Josh Roenicke let the Royals add tack on even more. But there a couple of critical mistakes that frustrated manager Ron Gardenhire and the Twins more than anything else.
"Those are the kind of things, if you lose a one-run game, you're going to look back and that's definitely going to be what frustrates you," Correia said.
In the third inning, Parmelee's nonchalant pursuit of a bloop to right field gave the No. 8 hitter Lough room to stretch a single into a double after he lulled Parmelee into thinking he was settling for one base. Johnny Giavotella, who had three hits from the No. 9 spot in the order, followed with an RBI single. Alex Gordon added a sacrifice fly.
Then in the fourth, Lough's double off the wall drove in two more. The Twins might've had a play at the plate on Mike Moustakas, but Parmelee tried to throw out Lough at second base instead of aiming for the cutoff man to start the relay home.
"Mental mistakes, and those things kill you, probably as much as physical," Gardenhire said, adding: "He's a good player. He's been playing really well. It just shows you you can't relax in this league. People will eat you up, and people will burn you."
Said Parmelee: "I should've been going home. I take full responsibility for that. That's my mess up."
Lough hit his second homer of the season, sending a solo drive off Burton into the right-field seats for an 8-7 lead. Eric Hosmer added a solo homer in the ninth for the Royals. Aaron Crow (5-3) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the victory. Greg Holland got his 17th save in 19 chances despite giving up a home run to Trevor Plouffe in the ninth.
Minnesota got a two-run homer from Justin Morneau and an RBI double by pinch-hitter Josh Willingham to tie it at 7 in the seventh. But Willingham's drive bounced at the warning track and over the wall, forcing Parmelee to stop at third with one out. Pedro Florimon struck out and Clete Thomas grounded out, ending that inning.
Through no fault of his own on this play, Parmelee was forced to think again about what could have been.
"I was really hustling around second base. I was looking to score. I was planning to score," he said.
Ervin Santana allowed three earned runs and five hits in six innings for Kansas City. He has gone at least six innings in each of his 16 starts this season, the longest active streak in majors. This has been a strong June for the right-hander. In six starts, he has a 1.99 ERA, limiting opponents to 27 hits and two home runs in 40 2-3 innings.
Thomas also homered for the Twins, in the fifth inning, but they fell just short of winning the four-game series and moving into third place ahead of the Royals. Lough had a lot to do with that, and Correia was shaking his head afterward about leaving a pitch up in the strike zone for the rookie to drive for that double in the fourth.
"If I could've took back that pitch, it's a whole different ballgame right there. It was the one bad pitch I think I threw today," Correia said.
NOTES: Morneau is hitting .354 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 24 RBIs in his last 25 home games. He passed Kirby Puckett for fifth place on the Twins' all-time home runs list with 208. "When you get mentioned in the company of a Hall of Famer, one of the most important players in this organization, it's pretty humbling. It's pretty cool," Morneau said. ... Billy Butler was 2 for 4, and is hitting .486 (17 for 35) against Twins this year. ... Scott Diamond (5-7, 5.40) is scheduled to start Monday for Minnesota when the New York Yankees arrive for a four-game series. New York is scheduled to counter with Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.22). ... Joe Mauer went 0 for 15 in the series. ... A day after Kyle Gibson got the win for the Twins in his major league debut, his former college teammate at Missouri, Crow, also got a victory.