WASHINGTON – In the opener, the Twins botched a grounder and let Washington put the game out of reach. In the nightcap, they wasted chances at the plate and blew a three-run lead.
Under the sun and then the lights, it was a miserable day for Minnesota.
Ian Desmond doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Nationals came back for a 5-4 victory Sunday to sweep a day-night doubleheader.
Minnesota had eight hits and four walks in the second game, but went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine overall as they completed a 2-4 road trip.
"We hit some balls right on the screws, seemed to go right at them. They got a couple of big hits and ended up getting the win," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Very frustrating game for us. We felt like we hit the ball better than the runs up on the board, but it just didn't come out that way."
The Twins managed only two hits in seven innings during the afternoon game against Jordan Zimmermann (9-3), who is tied for most wins in the majors after pitching the Nationals to a 7-0 victory. Minnesota managed just three hits in all and failed to get a runner past second base. Chris Parmelee had a double and a single.
The second game seemed more promising. Chris Hermann doubled in a pair of runs in the second inning and Pedro Florimon's two-run homer in the third off Nationals starter Nathan Karns made it 4-1 against a team that hadn't rallied from three runs down to win all season.
Washington chipped away, though, scoring single runs off Twins starter Samuel Deduno in the third and fifth to make it 4-3.
Eduardo Escobar led off the Minnesota sixth with a triple, but was stranded when Florimon grounded out, pinch-hitter Justin Morneau popped out and Jamey Carroll lined out.
"Yeah, that's huge. We took our good shot with Morny there. I don't care who they put in, Morny's been our best RBI guy," Gardenhire said. "You take your shot with him and hopefully he'll get the ball in the air deep enough. It just didn't work out, and then Jamey Carroll hits a rocket and the guy makes a play."
Washington tied it in the sixth on Denard Span's RBI triple off reliever Anthony Swarzak (1-2) and took the lead in the seventh when Desmond doubled in Adam LaRoche.
"It's very tough. Thought we had that last one," Swarzak said. "A couple pitches on my part and it's a whole different ballgame."
Tyler Clippard (5-1) pitched the seventh to get the win, Drew Storen handled the eighth and Rafael Soriano the ninth for his 16th save.
The opener got away from the Twins after a fifth-inning grounder by LaRoche that second baseman Brian Dozier couldn't handle. If he makes the play, the inning's over. He didn't, and the first of five Nationals crossed the plate in the inning.
"That's an error, and we just missed the ball," Gardenhire said. "I know they gave it a hit, but this is the big leagues, folks. That's an error. That's two steps to his right."
That was just one of the flubs in the field for the Twins. In the fourth inning, Morneau failed to come off the bag at first base to field a late, off-target throw from Florimon, allowing an extra run to score.
"I think Morny knows he's got to come off the bag and keep that one there and we talked about that afterwards," Gardenhire said. "He didn't know if he had a chance to still get the runner, but he's got to make sure we stop that ball."
Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (4-5) lasted 4 2-3 innings, allowing 10 hits and seven runs — six earned.
NOTES: The second game included a 12-minute rain delay. ... Minnesota CF Aaron Hicks left the nightcap with a strained left hamstring. Gardenhire said Hicks will be evaluated on Monday. ... Twins RHP Ryan Pressley left the first game in the seventh inning with a sore right triceps. "Just said he felt something in the back of his arm and we just got him out of there," Gardenhire said. "They brought him in here and checked him out. He should be just fine." ... The Twins recalled OF Chris Colabello from Triple-A Rochester as their 26th man for the doubleheader and sent him back down following the second game.