Another puzzling loss for Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 2, 2011 - 12:31 AM

After falling behind and then rallying, the Twins made their share of odd miscues that left them 20 games under .500.

view larger photos


DETROIT - The Twins fell 20 games below .500 on Wednesday night, and even though this has been a two-month free fall, their clubhouse remains in disbelief.

"With the talent level we have in here, you feel like it would almost be hard to be 20 under," pitcher Scott Baker said.

The Twins have baseball's ninth-biggest payroll, at $113 million. Nearly half of the Opening Day roster has landed on the disabled list, but that doesn't fully explain the 17-37 record.

One third of the way through the season, the Twins are on pace to finish 51-111.

It's almost unexplainable, much like some of the plays in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Baker (2-4) is a control specialist, but with one out in the third inning, he walked Ramon Santiago and Brennan Boesch, setting the stage for Miguel Cabrera's three-run homer.

That gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead. Two batters later, Andy Dirks hit a high foul ball that was easily playable for catcher Drew Butera, first baseman Justin Morneau or even Baker.

Butera camped under the ball but bailed at the last second, and the ball plopped right onto the grass.

"That's not a weird mistake, that's just a communication thing," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you were down on the field, you heard the fans scream, 'I got it! I got it!' And it sounded like a player.

"Really, if you ask Justin Morneau, he'll tell you that's his ball. He should have caught it."

Said Butera: "I think I heard someone yell 'Drew!' I thought someone maybe said, 'I got it! I got it!' And in my mind, I just didn't process it fast enough."

Perhaps Baker and Butera wanted to crawl into a hole at that moment, but they kept competing. Baker finished with three scoreless innings, and Butera hit his first home run since Aug. 3, a two-run shot off Tigers starter Rick Porcello (5-3) in the seventh that trimmed Detroit's lead to 4-2.

The Twins loaded the bases later in the seventh before Trevor Plouffe, subbing for the injured Jim Thome, took a called third strike to end the inning.

In the ninth, the Twins had another head-scratcher. With one out and Matt Tolbert on second base, Alexi Casilla tried to bunt with two strikes, and fouled off Jose Valverde's pitch for a strikeout.

"I don't know where that came from," Gardenhire said. "We call that a loose-cannon play."

Said Casilla: "What I thought was, I don't care about the runner on second because for me, that run means nothing. I'm the tying run. We've been losing too much. So darn, [the infielders are] playing back. I took a chance to maybe get on base because I've got [Morneau] behind me."

Valverde intentionally walked Morneau -- putting the potential tying run on base -- but Michael Cuddyer grounded out to end the game.

The last time the Twins were 20 games under .500 was in 2000, when they finished the season 69-93.

"At this point, I don't know what else we can do but try to play good baseball," Baker said. "Obviously, it's going to be like climbing Mount Everest to get back where we need to be."


    Up next: 7:10 tonight at Kansas City • FSN (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New England 0 1st Qtr 13:40
Seattle 0
Miami 83 FINAL
Boston 75
LA Lakers 80 FINAL
New York 92
Arizona 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Nashville 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Miami-Florida 54 FINAL
Florida State 55
Oakland 96 FINAL
Youngstown St 80
Cincinnati 46 FINAL
East Carolina 50
Michigan 66 FINAL
Michigan State 76
Marist 75 FINAL
Canisius 67
Fordham 77 FINAL
Dayton 101
Manhattan 87 FINAL
Monmouth 76
Quinnipiac 100 FINAL
Niagara 105
Utah 67 FINAL
USC 39
Connecticut 68 FINAL
Houston 70
California 90 FINAL
Washington 88
North Dakota St 64 FINAL
Western Ill 62
Penn State 65 FINAL
(22) Rutgers 76
(14) Texas 59 FINAL
TCU 64
Coll of Charleston 49 FINAL
Towson 71
Cornell 53 FINAL
Yale 60
Xavier 68 FINAL
Providence 57
Drexel 61 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 44
Stony Brook 60 FINAL
New Hampshire 52
Maine 52 FINAL
Albany 44
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
(21) Georgia 72 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 80
Arizona 69 FINAL
Colorado 81
Wake Forest 63 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 92
Loyola-Chicago 56 FINAL
Illinois State 72
(24) Oklahoma 69 FINAL
West Virginia 78
St Johns 73 FINAL
Seton Hall 78
Delaware 73 FINAL
Hofstra 62
Binghamton 49 FINAL
UMass Lowell 66
Vermont 49 FINAL
Hartford 60
William & Mary 72 FINAL
Northeastern 66
Boston College 60 FINAL
(16) North Carolina 72
Virginia 77 FINAL
Clemson 72
(2) Connecticut 83 FINAL
Temple 49
Arkansas 53 FINAL
Alabama 42
Virginia Tech 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 79
Kansas 58 FINAL
(3) Baylor 66
Canisius 51 FINAL
Rider 52
Monmouth 52 FINAL
Fairfield 54
Quinnipiac 81 FINAL
Saint Peters 50
Butler 55 FINAL
Creighton 62
Wichita State 61 FINAL
Drake 64
Evansville 52 FINAL
Indiana State 67
(18) Miss State 67 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
Villanova 47 FINAL
DePaul 49
Georgetown 73 FINAL
Marquette 80
North Texas 55 FINAL
Rice 58
Auburn 45 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 78
(11) Arizona State 58 FINAL
Utah 48
Missouri State 56 FINAL
Northern Iowa 64
Michigan 60 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 75
Minnesota 49 FINAL
Northwestern 70
Wisconsin 73 FINAL
Illinois 62
Bradley 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 76
Florida 67 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(20) Iowa 88 FINAL
(5) Maryland 93
(1) South Carolina 67 2nd Half 3:58
Ole Miss 47
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question