Three leftovers from a sweaty afternoon in Baltimore:
WHOSE POPUP IS IT? Ron Gardenhire said Trevor Plouffe needed to field David Lough's sixth-inning bunt, an odd play that might have had major consequences on the outcome of Sunday's game. Maybe he meant that Plouffe should have been playing further in and charging harder. But Plouffe might also be right that the Twins were just unlucky, and the ball landed at the perfect spot. The Orioles led 4-2 at the time, but had two runners on base and no outs. Lough squared to bunt -- he also sacrificed in the first inning -- but popped the ball up about 15 feet from home plate. Everyone sort of stopped when the ball popped in the air, figuring it was a major break for the Twins, but nobody ran after it. When it fell, catcher Eric Fryer got to it too late to throw Lough out, and the big inning was on. Adam Jones followed with a two-run double, Nolasco was removed from the game, and J.J. Hardy launched a grand slam shortly thereafter. It was probably Plouffe's play, but I'm not sure he could have got an out, either.
ROOKIES ON A ROLL: Danny Santana had another hit on Sunday, a two-run home run. Kennys Vargas had, of all things, an infield hit in five at-bats. That brings the rookies' total to 79 hits in August, the most by rookie teammates in one month since 1962, when Bernie Allen (44) and Rich Rollins (40) set the Twins' record with 84. Santana, with 41 hits, and Vargas, with 38, passed Fred Lynn and Jim Rice on Sunday; the Twins can only hope these rookies have as successful careers as those former Red Sox.
GOOD MONTH, BAD MONTH: All 18 batters in the two starting lineups had hits on Sunday, the first time that's happened in more than a year -- since May 17, 2013, in a Tampa Bay-Baltimore game had the same outcome. Impressive, but it didn't make the Twins feel any better. They've been hitting all month, for all the good it's done them -- they finished August with an 11-18 record. The Twins finished August with 159 runs, more than any team in the major leagues, and the most since 2009, when they scored 168 in May. But the pitching, particularly the past two weeks, has been abysmal.