The Twins are in serious jeopardy of losing 100 games for the second time in their 51-year history, and no team feels their pain like the Mariners.
Seattle went 61-101 in 2008 and again last year. The '08 Mariners were the only team in history to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll. The Twins can become the second, which speaks to the expectations each team had going into the season.
The fight to avoid 100 losses has become the only suspenseful element to the Twins' season, and they moved a little closer Tuesday night with their 10th consecutive defeat.
This one came with an excruciating twist, as the Twins loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning and still couldn't score, as Seattle escaped with a 5-4 victory at Target Field.
Mariners closer Brandon League fanned Michael Cuddyer for the first out in the ninth. Then Chris Parmelee grounded to first baseman Michael Carp, who fired home for the second out, and Danny Valencia grounded to third, ending the game.
"It's tough, and I'll take that one tonight because I didn't come through," Cuddyer said. "I'm probably one of the only guys who's seen League before. In that situation, you can't strike out."
The last time the Twins had a 10-game losing streak was Sept. 9-19, 1998. At 59-94, they need to go 4-5 in their final nine games to stay below the century mark.
"You definitely don't want 100 losses," Cuddyer said. "Anybody who's got pride doesn't want 100 losses. You don't want 99 losses, either."
When the Twins went 60-102 in 1982, they at least had several rookies -- including Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Frank Viola and Tom Brunansky -- who became key pieces of their 1987 World Series championship team. In 1982, the Twins' first year in the Metrodome, they got off to a 16-54 start and finished 44-48.
It's hard for the Twins to sell that kind of hope with their current crop of youngsters. This injury-riddled team was 50-56 on July 29 but has gone 9-38 since, including 2-15 in September.
For what it's worth, four of the past five losses have been close: two one-run losses to Cleveland, a two-run loss at Yankee Stadium on Monday and Tuesday's one-run defeat.
In his third major league start, Liam Hendriks had a 4-2 lead with one out in the sixth inning, when Alex Liddi tied it with a two-run homer to left field.
"We battled pretty hard; it was a good ballgame," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Liam made the one bad pitch there at the end. That was probably the last hitter he was going to face. He [threw 94] pitches, and we're not putting too much pressure on those kids, and he hung a slider."
The Mariners went ahead in the seventh on Adam Kennedy's two-out RBI infield single. Pitcher Brian Duensing flailed after the ball, landing on his chest, and tried directing it to first base, but Kennedy was safe, enabling Kyle Seager to score from third.
Then, with League's Houdini act, Seattle improved to 65-89.
"You load them up with no outs, and they're playing infield in, you're just thinking hard contact's going to at least tie the ballgame up," Gardenhire said. "It just didn't work out for us."