If only newly acquired designated hitter Kendrys Morales could also pitch to cure all of the Twins’ issues.
Instead, he watched the pitching staff make history on his first day in uniform. It wasn’t anything to brag about, either. The Twins bullpen gave up two grand slams in a 14-5 loss to Houston in the decisive game of their three-game series Sunday at Target Field.
It’s only the third time in franchise history the Twins have given up two grand slams in a game and the first since April 22, 1988, against Cleveland.
The Twins trailed 5-3 when Brian Duensing gave up the first grand slam, in the seventh to designated hitter Chris Carter. Closer Glen Perkins then allowed the second grand slam in the ninth, to Jon Singleton, his second career home run.
The Astros had hit two grand slams in a game only once before, against the Mets on July 30, 1969.
“That’s not a bad team over there,” Perkins said. “They’ve been playing well for a while now, and they got us today. I think they swing hard in case they hit it, and they hit them today.”
The Twins’ rough outing on the mound began with Samuel Deduno, who had command issues and recorded his shortest start this season. He lasted three-plus innings and was yanked by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire after loading the bases with no outs in the fourth. All three runs scored against reliever Anthony Swarzak.
Deduno gave up five runs, three hits and four walks. He also hit two batters. Only 40 of Deduno’s 79 pitches were strikes.
“I think I’m trying too hard sometimes,” Deduno said. “I’m thinking to throw a strike and maybe that’s affecting me a little bit. When I’m throwing the fastball, I can feel it pretty good in my fingers but today was bad. I didn’t feel anything like I had any control in my release.”
The two grand slams were part of a season-high four home runs surrendered. Center fielder Dexter Fowler and right fielder George Springer each had solo shots, in the third and eighth innings. The Twins gave up 11 home runs during the five-game homestand with Milwaukee and Houston.
“Guys are driving pretty good on us right now and some of these pitches are up, which is the norm,” Gardenhire said. “You make a bad pitch in this league and it goes a long ways.”
The 14 runs against the Twins were a season high and the most since they gave up 18 runs to Oakland last Sept 11.
The Twins now will begin what could be their toughest road trip this season. The nine-game trip starts Monday with the Blue Jays, who lead the American League East, followed by the AL Central-leading Tigers and concluding with the Red Sox, the defending World Series champions.
The Blue Jays lead the majors with 89 home runs, 10 more than the Rockies.
“They’re known for home runs, so we got to get away from that trend,” Gardenhire said. “It’s a good baseball over there, and they always play good at home. We’re going to go in there and pitch, swing the bats. It’s a tough trip all the way around.
“Hopefully we’ll play a little better baseball and pitch a little better. We’ve got to pitch a little better.”