ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Angels made it three consecutive defeats for the Twins, who sit eight games back for the first time since July 7.

"This is crucial," losing pitcher Brian Duensing said. "We have to win very series. We start losing series and start losing a lot of games in a row, we could find ourselves in a very deep hole. We didn’t get it done tonight, but if we win the next two, we can kind of go back home with a little momentum."

After getting dominated by Ervin Santana, the Twins at least know they'll be facing the softer side of the Angels' starting rotation. They're missing Dan Haren and Jered Weaver in this series.

Wednesday brings Joel Pineiro, who is 0-2 with a 15.00 ERA in his past three starts, and Thursday brings rookie Tyler Chatwood, who went 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in July.

Infield scramble

It didn't factor into Tuesday's scoring, but it sure looked bad in the second inning when Howie Kendrick hit a comebacker to Duensing, who tried to start a double play but discovered no one covering second base.

Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka was in charge of second base on a comebacker, but he committed toward fielding the ball. He scrambled back in time to get the out at second but had no play at first.

"I think maybe he thought the ball was going through [the mound]," Gardenhire said. "He was playing the ball. When you have the pitcher, your job is to go to the bag. ... It’s not a maybe; just get to the bag."

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