Mistakes cost the Rockies and Dakota Hudson the game against the Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — In a game with two starting pitchers rolling on the mound, the margin for error is minuscule. The Rockies blinked twice on Monday and it cost them the first two runs in an eventual 5-0 loss to the Twins.

Before Minnesota rallied for three runs in the eighth, the story of the game was a pitching duel between Dakota Hudson and the Twins’ Chris Paddack. Both pitchers entered the game with a disappointing 5.00 ERA+, but each pitched into the seventh inning in a tense, well-played affair.

Well, played almost entirely crisply. The two aforementioned errors that plagued the Rockies gave the Twins single runs in the third and fourth innings. The first came with one out in the third, after Hudson retired the first seven batters he faced. Manny Margot launched a pitch to deep right field, over the head of Hunter Goodman, for the Twins’ first hit.

Margot was about to reach second with a double when she saw Goodman bounce the ball on the warning track. The error allowed Margot to take third and she trotted home on Christian Vazquez’s fly ball to right field.

In the fourth, the Twins had their first batter on first when Royce Lewis hit a soft helicopter back to the mound. Hudson fielded it cleanly, but he doubled up and threw his throw to second base. Instead of being able to turn into a double play, Adael Amador had to stay on base to make sure he caught the lead runner.

Of course, that missed opportunity cost Hudson. Lewis moved to second on an infield groundout, and Carlos Correa’s two-out double propelled him to a 2-0 Twins lead.

“I kind of hesitated,” Hudson said of the mistake. “I knew Amador was there coming to second, but I threw it to him while he was moving instead of just throwing it over the bag.”

Those were the only hiccups in an otherwise strong start for Hudson. The right-hander allowed just four hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. And he kept his pitch count in check, needing just 75 pitches to get those 20 outs.

Despite that low pitch count, manager Bud Black pulled him with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Margot, who doubled and walked in her two previous plate appearances, was next, so Black turned to Nick Mears, who retired Margot with a fly ball to right field.

“I think he was the only guy, I think him and Correa, who were seeing the ball well against him,” Black said of Margot. “And I thought with Nick, it was the right matchup to go after Margot.”

Hudson would have preferred to stay in the game, but he also understood Black’s thought process.

“I feel like I had more in the tank, but at that part of the game, they had some things going,” he said. “We had Mears and a couple of guys who are totally capable, so I was just trying to put the coach in a difficult position, but I trust his decisions.”

Still, it was the third time this season that Hudson allowed zero or one earned run, and after a rough stretch in April, his season is starting to head in the right direction.

“I feel a lot better where I am,” Hudson said. “I feel like I’m in a place where I’m making progress in throwing, so I’m just trying to keep improving a throw.”

Black agreed, praising the movement of both his fastball and breaking ball and his ability to keep the Twins hitting the ball on the ground, recording 13 groundout outs. But with the Rockies’ bats being shut out for the fifth time in Hudson’s 13 starts, small mistakes made the difference.

“Goodie misplayed the ball on Margot’s double, took him to third and then the sacrifice fly. And then Huddy had a chance to hit the double play and he kind of threw a changeup to Amador and he had to stay in the pocket,” Black said. “We couldn’t convert a couple. That happen. You hate to see it.”