MINNEAPOLIS -- Andrew Miller pretty much got the jam shot he was looking for from Aaron Hicks. But in a sign of the type of misfortune the Red Sox have felt too many times through the first 40 games of the season, it still fell in there.
For the second time in three days, the Red Sox came back, only to eventually lose. And for the second time in three days, Miller was on the mound when the Twins finished off a walk-off victory.
This time, it was Hicks who placed a two-out, RBI single off of Miller's 95-mph heat to give the Twins a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Red Sox.
Off the bat, Miller honestly felt the 3-2 pitch was going to end on a flyout to left. But the sinking liner plopped on the grass, about five feet in front of Grady Sizemore, whose throw to the plate wasn't nearly in time to get Kurt Suzuki.
"Fastball in, tried to jam the guy, jammed him," said Miller. "It just fell down. What I envisioned was going to happen behind me -- I thought it was an out, which is pretty disappointing because it wasn't a very loud crack of the bat or anything."
In some ways, it was easier for Miller to stomach what happened Tuesday, when he simply mislocated a fastball that Chris Parmelee nailed for a walk-off homer.
"It stinks," said Miller. "I feel good out there, but I blew two games. We lost the series, we lost two games in the series that my name's attached to, so it stinks."
The Red Sox come home with a 20-20 record, as they get ready to face the Tigers, the team with the best record in the American League.
"I think the characteristic of this team is consistent with a year ago, and that is a group that loves to compete, loves to prepare," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've shown it repeatedly, and yet we're also gaining valuable experience in a couple of spots on the field defensively and at the plate.
"We need to continue to pitch well from the mound, particularly our starters, to keep games in check. We felt like coming out of Spring Training, we'd be, record-wise, better than what we are. But we're clearly in the mix of this."
With the Red Sox trailing, 3-1, and two outs in the top of the ninth, Will Middlebrooks lashed a game-tying, two-run single to right against Twins closer Glen Perkins.
"It's good, any hit feels good," said Middlebrooks. "Anytime you can come through and tie the game up in the ninth, it's a good feeling. Tough loss, but you have to move on."
David Ortiz, who was 8-for-14 in the series, started the rally with a single to right and was replaced by pinch-runner Jonathan Herrera. Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp kept hope alive with back-to-back one-out singles.
After David Ross struck out for the second out, Middlebrooks attacked the first pitch he saw from Perkins, and Gomes roared around third and followed Herrera home to tie the game.
"Once again, we showed again today what we showed in Game 1 of this series, what this team continually shows, and that's a willingness and a relentlessness to the group to fight back, tie things up, and we're a swing of the bat away from walking out of here with a series win," said Farrell.
Miller pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, but Suzuki got the winning rally started with a one-out double in the 10th.
For Clay Buchholz, this one goes into the stat line as a quality start, as he gave up three runs on 10 hits over six innings. The righty walked three and struck out six, taking a no-decision.
"It was alright" said Buchholz. "It wasn't the best stuff I've had all year, but I felt like it was good enough. They hit some good pitches that got through the infield. I've been battling that for a couple of starts now. Just have to build off of it."
Phil Hughes was outstanding for the Twins, allowing a run on five hits over six innings while walking none and striking out eight.
"This is obviously a tough team and I knew I had to bring it today," said Hughes. "We scored a few runs early to give us a chance and we were able to pull it off at the end. So it was a good win for us and a good series win."
Buchholz got into trouble in the second. Suzuki started it with a one-out single. Parmelee then belted a two-run homer to right-center.
After a walk to Hicks and a single by Eduardo Escobar put runners at the corners with one out, Brian Dozier's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
"I gave up the homer and sac fly and was able to settle down a little bit. Phil was throwing a pretty good ballgame on the other side," said Buchholz. "Just a waiting game and going out there and hoping not to give up any more damage and you see where the team fought back and we did everything we could."
The Red Sox had a hard time getting their offense in gear against Hughes. In the fifth, Carp drove in a run on an infield single to cut the deficit to two runs.
Eventually, Boston would come all the way back, only to come up short in the end.
"It's just unfortunate we didn't come away with a better result," said Ross.