KANSAS CITY, MO. — It will come, the Twins keep telling themselves.
"I know we're a good team," outfielder Jason Kubel said. "Everyone here knows it. And we just keep waiting for it to turn around."
In their hearts, they believe that eventually, they will emerge from these challenging times to be an elite team.
"The most important thing is to try to stay positive and do the best we can," righthander Scott Baker said, "and try to have a good time while doing it."
Meanwhile the losses keep accumulating, as Kubel, Baker and the rest of the Twins dressed and headed for the hotel licking their self-inflicted wounds following a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
They are far from an elite team, as they dropped their fourth game in a row. At 9-16, the Twins have the worst record in the American League -- the latest they have had the AL's worst record since the end of the 2000 season.
They didn't play mistake-free baseball for much of Friday night, and it led to a bitter ending, as Kansas City scored once in the seventh and twice in eighth to end a six-game losing streak.
Baker threw 100 pitches through six innings but was sent to the mound for the seventh because the Twins bullpen was gassed from Thursday's doubleheader. Brayan Pena led off with a double and eventually scored to make it 3-2.
Alex Burnett, called up from Class AAA Rochester after the doubleheader, replaced Baker and cleanly finished off the seventh inning. He then came out to pitch the eighth -- again, because the bullpen was gassed.
"[Matt Capps] was our last pitcher," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "And [Brian] Duensing was next. And he was our next day's starter."
With one out, Wilson Betemit doubled, and he went to third on Kila Ka'aihue's infield single that was actually misplayed by Alexi Casilla.
"I know they gave it a hit, that's a joke," Gardenhire said. "That can't be a base hit. That's ridiculous when you have a shortstop standing right there and the ball goes right in his glove and he drops it."
Jarrod Dyson pinch ran at first and stole second. When Drew Butera's throw went into center field, Betemit scored the tying run and Dyson moved to third.
After a walk to Pena, Alcides Escobar lifted a fly ball to short left. Casilla made a fine running catch -- but his momentum took him away from home plate. Dyson dashed in for a 4-3 lead.
"No chance," Dyson said. "He would have to set his feet to make a strong throw. I felt that, by then, I'd be at top speed."
Dyson scored the winning run with his heads-up baserunning -- a stark contrast to the Twins.
Kubel led off the fourth with a double, then paused on Michael Cuddyer's one-out single to left and was able to only advance to third when he could have scored. He was stranded there.
Danny Valencia hit a two-run double in the sixth to put the Twins up 3-1. Rene Tosoni followed with a single to center that was an easier read than Kubel's. Valencia dithered and only made it to third, then was erased when the Royals pitched out on a suicide-squeeze attempt with Butera at the plate.
Too many self-inflicted wounds for a team trying to dig out of a hole. They have tied their club record for losses in April.
"Kubel said he didn't get a good read and Danny, the same thing," Gardenhire said. "But that's when you gotta look around and know where the outfielders are."