Gloom, broom boil over for Twins

Everything seems to be breaking down for the Twins, and the team's frustration showed through Carl Pavano's bat-swinging tantrum.


Drew Butera reassured Twins starting pitcher Carl Pavano during the fifth inning. But after the game, Pavano took out his frustrations out on a garbage can.

Photo: Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

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KANSAS CITY, MO. -- Twins righthander Carl Pavano couldn't break bats on the field or in the dugout on Sunday.

That's how bad things are going for the Twins these days.

After being removed from the game in the sixth inning -- having given up six earned runs on 12 hits -- Pavano grabbed a bat upon descending into the dugout and began wailing on a garbage can. Scott Baker was next to the can at the time and had to time his escape so he could avoid Pavano's backswing.

Whose bat did Pavano grab? Alexi Casilla's. But Casilla had two triples Sunday and led the Twins with six total bases. Casilla was 2-for-3 but his batting average remains under .200 at .190.

That's how bad things are going for the Twins these days.

And Pavano couldn't even break the bat.

"If it would have broken the first time, I would have been satisfied,'' Pavano said. "So I kept swinging.''

One day after usually reserved outfielder Denard Span spoke up at a team meeting to ask if they were going to respond or roll over following a terrible April, the Twins were rolled over by the Royals 10-3.

They've lost six in a row, and they were swept in a three-game series by Kansas City -- a team against which they had a 118-68 record over the previous 10 seasons -- for the first time since Aug. 4-6, 1998.

That's how bad things are going for the Twins these days.

They packed for Chicago with their confidence low and frustration high, hoping to figure out ways to blow off steam and beat the White Sox, who have lost five consecutive games themselves.

"We're going to have to make our own luck,'' first baseman Justin Morneau said. "We can't feel sorry for ourselves, and Kansas City doesn't feel bad beating us, I know that.''

Morneau hit his first homer of the season Sunday -- his first since July 6 last year in Toronto. That, and Casilla's triples, were the highlights.

Pavano didn't have his best stuff, and he said it led to him shaking off pitches and getting into more trouble.

Casilla committed his fourth error of the season, and he and Morneau botched a rundown in the fifth that led to Mike Aviles diving back into first base safely. Aviles then stole second and scored on Billy Butler's double.

"That's as bad of a rundown as I have seen in my life,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The Twins walked seven times against Kansas City pitching for the second game in a row, but they had only five hits on Sunday and batted .177 in the series.

They are breaking down in every aspect of the game. They thought they had bottomed out Saturday.

Pavano knew his team needed a strong start from him Sunday. Every inning was a battle, and he let his emotions erupt in the dugout.

"It is pretty frustrating for everybody, and you are going to see those emotions, if you like them or not,'' Gardenhire said. "You should see them. It's something we care deeply about.''

Pavano knows grabbing a bat isn't the best way to deal with frustration -- but said he felt much better after the can bashing.

"'It feels great. It feels unbelievable,'' he said. "I'd like to go back and do it again ... .but it happens.''

Maybe the rest of the team should have lined up behind him and blown off some steam, too.

"As long as we don't turn the bats on each other,'' Pavano said, "I think we'll be all right.''

La Velle E. Neal III •

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