Blue Jays keep making Twins pitchers disappear

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2014 - 7:35 AM

Starter Phil Hughes was the first victim, throwing five solid innings before imploding.

The Twins have plenty of clues to pore over, lots of evidence to examine. But even Sherlock Holmes might not be able to solve the Mystery of the Vanishing Pitchers.

Phil Hughes halted one Toronto rally after another through five innings Tuesday night, seemed to be gaining strength and confidence with every pitch, then abruptly lost the ability to get the Blue Jays out. Jared Burton got two consecutive infield dribblers in the ninth, then suddenly lost the ability to throw strikes, walking the bases loaded and giving up a grand slam.

The result was a 9-3 loss to the Jays in front of an announced 21,818 freezing fans at Target Field, a game that left Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wondering afterward how the quality pitching disappeared.

“I don’t know,” Gardenhire said of Hughes, who in his three starts with the Twins has now pitched five innings and given up four runs in each. “He was cruising before [the sixth], but all of a sudden — I don’t know what happened. He just couldn’t get the ball where he wanted to.”

And Burton, the Twins’ normally dependable setup man, who now sports a 14.40 ERA? “I don’t know what’s going on with him right now. He’s not pitching with a lot of confidence,” Gardenhire said. “I feel for him, he’s one of our best pitchers. But he’s going through a rough time right now.”

The Twins got strong pitching all weekend against the Royals, and appeared primed finally to rise above .500 on their third attempt this season. Chris Colabello doubled home a run in the first inning, just missing a home run by a foot, and Joe Mauer singled home another in the second, and it appeared that might be enough for Hughes.

The righthander never allowed a baserunner past second during the first five innings, and snuffed a two-on, no-out situation in the fourth by whiffing Edwin Encarnacion on a 93-mph low fastball and Dioner Navarro on a high curve and coaxing Moises Sierra to ground into a fielder’s choice. “I was locating pretty well, making some big pitches,” Hughes said. “It seemed like they got the leadoff hitter on every inning, but I was making pitches when I had to.”

Then in the sixth, Munenori Kawasaki hit a chopper that crossed third base for a double, his first hit of the season. Jose Bautista followed with an RBI single, and Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion lined singles of their own. Suddenly, Hughes was finished.

“Sometimes there are little spurts in games where you can’t locate a pitch,” he said. That one was particularly ill-timed, especially when Navarro greeted reliever Michael Tonkin with a single, and Sierra hit a roller to Mauer that the first baseman chose not to throw home for the force. That scored the go-ahead run, and two more scored when Brett Lawrie hit a sacrifice fly to score Encarnacion. Catcher Kurt Suzuki tried to throw out Navarro at third, but his throw sailed into left field, bringing home a fifth run.

Meanwhile, the Twins’ hitting disappeared as completely as their pitching. Despite putting runners on base in seven different innings, they went hitless for 22 consecutive batters.

“It felt like we were killing the ball,” said Colabello, who had a career-high three hits. “But I look up in the [eighth] inning, and we’ve only got four hits.”

It was a mystery. The Twins suddenly have lots of them to solve.

 

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Toronto 9, Twins 3

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    The Twins played the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field Tuesday. Toronto won 9-3

  • BOXSCORE: Toronto 9, Twins 3

    Tuesday April 15, 2014

  • Video: Colabello optimistic about pitching

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    Twins cleanup hitter Chris Colabello says the fact that the team's pitching has been good lately is "an awesome...

  • Twins' Dozier does fine slugger imitation

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    It’s quite a head-to-head duel in Target Field this week, featuring two of the top home run hitters in the American League. For now, at least.

  • Video: Hughes 'lost it for a minute' in loss

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes was throwing well, but "I lost it for a minute," and gave up 4...

  • Section 219: Where is the 'settling point' for the Twins?

    Tuesday April 15, 2014

    It's been an up-and-down first dozen games for the Twins. here are some of the questions raised by their start.

  • Postgame: No matter the weather, Hughes sleeveless

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    Missed opportunities doomed the Twins' chances to climb above .500 for the first time this year

  • Toronto's Dioner Navarro to scored in the sixth inning against the Twins.

  • Pedro Florimon’s sinking liner in the second got past Jose Bautista for a triple.

  • Twins starter Phil Hughes was effective through five innings, shutting out Toronto with seven strikeouts, but he was charged with four of the five runs scored by the Blue Jays in the sixth.

  • Kurt Suzuki tried to nail Toronto’s Dioner Navarro at third, but his throw went past Trevor Plouffe and capped the Blue Jays’ five-run sixth inning.

  • The Blue Jays’ Brett Lawrie celebrated his grand slam in the ninth inning. Twins reliever Jared Burton got two quick outs, then walked the bases full before Lawrie stepped up and cleared them in Toronto’s 9-3 victory.

  • TORONTO 9, TWINS 3

    Up next: 7:10 tonight vs. Toronto • Target Field  • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
Chicago WSoxH. Noesi (0-0)000
MinnesotaT. Milone (0-1)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Latos 6:05 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
Boston - J. Kelly 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Detroit - K. Lobstein 6:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Penny
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Hellickson
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
LA Angels - C. Wilson 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. Milone
Texas - D. Holland 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Guthrie
Pittsburgh - J. Locke 7:15 PM
St. Louis - A. Wainwright
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Washington - D. Fister 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Arizona - W. Miley 9:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close