MINNEAPOLIS – A chill ran down Justin Morneau's spine when he saw teammate Chris Parmelee get hit in the head with a fastball in the sixth inning Wednesday night.
It was eerily similar to the one that hit Morneau in the head in 2005 and touched off a series of concussion-related problems that have plagued him for the last two years. The early indications are that Parmelee is going to be OK, and the Twins are breathed a sigh of relief, even after a loss.
Parmelee left the game after getting hit in the head in the sixth, and the Twins weren't able to cap a spirited comeback in a 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
The young first baseman was standing in with two strikes against lefty Justin Thomas when a fastball came up and in and hit him in the bill of the helmet. A hush fell over the crowd as he lay motionless, but Parmelee was able to walk off under his own power after a few moments.
"It's almost the exact same way I got hit in '05," Morneau said. "Two strikes, kind of hanging in there, waiting for a breaking ball and all of a sudden that two-seamer seems to be running at you and you can't get away. It's a scary feeling. I went back and talked to him and he seems like he's doing all right."
Manager Ron Gardenhire said initial examinations showed no signs of a concussion, but Parmelee will be evaluated again on Thursday. He was unavailable for comment.
"We're just lucky the kid's OK," Gardenhire said.
The ball ricocheted hard of Parmelee's helmet, silencing a crowd that had grown raucous as the Twins rallied.
"It was just a fastball up and in, trying to elevate enough to get it on his hands and it just kind of rode in too much on me," Thomas said. "No intention there. I just hope he's feeling alright."
They fell behind early again after another terrible outing by their starting pitcher. Liam Hendriks (0-1) gave up seven runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks in four innings and Minnesota trailed 7-1 heading into the sixth.
Hendriks won a 15-pitch at-bat with Adrian Gonzalez to end the first inning, but it was all downhill from there. Twins starters are 2-11 with a 7.09 ERA for the season.
"I let the team down completely," Hendriks said.
They put five on the board in the sixth against Clay Buchholz, getting an RBI-double from Denard Span, a two-run single from Joe Mauer and singles from Morneau and Trevor Plouffe.
But Matt Albers but got Sean Burroughs to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning with Boston still in front. The Twins also loaded the bases in the first inning and ninth inning without scoring a run. The Twins left 13 runners on base in the game.
Boston closer Alfredo Aceves struck out Span to end the game in the ninth.
Mauer had two hits and two RBIs, Alex Casilla had three hits and Anthony Swarzak, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton combined for five innings of scoreless relief to keep the Twins in the game.
"Kind of the story of the season so far, we're one big hit away from being in the right spot and being on the winning side in some of these ballgames," Morneau said. "I guess you can say the good thing is we had those opportunities, but we didn't take advantage of them."
NOTES: Twins slugger Josh Willingham missed the game to attend the birth of his son, Rogan. Willingham is on three-day paternity leave. ... The Red Sox open a four-game series in Chicago against the White Sox on Thursday. They send Felix Doubront (0-0, 3.94) to the mound to face Phil Humber (1-0, 0.63), who is coming off of a perfect game in his last outing. It's been a big week for Humber, who flew home from Oakland to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. "I hope he's tired," Valentine said. ... The Twins have a day off on Thursday before hosting the Kansas City Royals this weekend. RHP Carl Pavano (1-2, 4.73) will start the opener on Friday against Royals LHP Danny Duffy (1-2, 3.63).