Three final thoughts after yet another painful loss to the Royals, a habit the Twins just can't break:
MAYBE THIS TIME: Liam Hendriks didn't get the last laugh, exactly, but he got a pretty good one on Wednesday. We'll see if it lasts this time -- Twins fans have been fooled by the Aussie before -- but it had to feel great to make such a strong introduction to a new team. And against his old team to boot? "I was pretty excited," he said. "I liked seeing some of the guys, but it was a good feeling to beat them." Hendriks, who recorded a victory in only two of his 28 starts as a Twin, says he's gained a little velocity since he was waived by the Twins last December, and credits an adjustment to his windup that helps him pitch out of the set position for adding movement to his sinker. He destroyed Triple-A hitters again this year, as he once did in Rochester for the Twins: A combined 12-2 record and 2.45 ERA for the Jays' and Royals' Class AAA teams. "I feel like I can bring it with me this time" to the majors, Hendriks said. "It's mainly mindset for me -- I'm more confident now, and I don't try to overthink things. I've been keeping it simple, and it's working out really well."
TRYING TO THROW TOO HARD: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't sound too concerned about Casey Fien's out-of-the-blue blowup the past couple of outings, which have puffed up his ERA from 2.68 to 3.44 in two appearances. Fien, who had gone nine appearances without allowing a run, surrendered four against the Tigers on Sunday, throwing 34 pitches after not needing more than 24 all season. He got an extra day off to rest, but wasn't himself again Wednesday night. Fien gave up a bloop single to Billy Butler and a triple to Salvador Perez, allowing three runs to score, though only one charged to him. "Casey was overthrowing the ball. It looks like he's trying to throw the ball 100 miles an hour," Gardenhire said. "He might have been over-amped out there. He got a couple of balls up and they made him pay."
GOOD STUFF, BAD RESULT: It was hard not to feel bad for Phil Hughes, who may have pitched his best game yet on Wednesday, at least for seven innings. After a leadoff hit by Perez in the second inning, Hughes didn't allow another one until the eighth. He should have won his 15th game, he should be tied for the league lead, and he should have become the first Twin since Nick Blackburn in 2010 to win five games in one month. Hughes was sanguine about it, though. "I have to brush it off and be content with how well I'm throwing the ball right now," he said. "At least I don't have to go back to the drawing board."