It's a case of blahs that ails Twins in series-opening loss to Royals

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2014 - 6:38 AM

Plenty of chances and no clutch hits added up to more frustration in a defeat to Kansas City.

The Twins promised slow, steady improvement this season, and as they reached the halfway point of their 2014 season on Monday night, it’s hard to say they haven’t delivered. Especially if you focus on the “slow” part of that pledge.

They received so-so pitching, sloppy defense and the maddeningly persistent left-on-base addiction that they just can’t quit, all of which added up to a 6-1 loss to Kansas City at Target Field. The setback meant the Twins stride into the season’s second half on Tuesday at 37-44, or one game better than their 36-45 record of a year ago, which was a one-game improvement on their 35-46 quicksand in both 2012 and ’11.

That 2025 pennant race is going to be a hot one, isn’t it?

Actually, any emotion would be an improvement at the moment, because the Twins are suffering through an attack of the blands — a series of games that are frustratingly blah, or blahly frustrating. In each of the past seven games, the Twins have allowed their opponent to take a lead in the first or second inning, forcing them to play catch-up all day. But any chance they have of actually catching up is scuttled by a total lack of clutch hitting.

“Chances all over the place tonight,” manager Ron Gardenhire shrugged. “We had chances — again.”

True enough — the Twins put at least two runners on base in each of the final five innings Monday, against Kansas City starter Danny Duffy and four relievers. But only once did anyone deliver a run-scoring hit, that being Eduardo Nunez with an RBI single in the fifth.

They went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position, continuing a Twins tradition. They are 11-for-57 in the past seven games in clutch situations, a .193 average that feels even worse. Take the sixth inning Monday — Duffy, tiring under the strain of throwing 97 mph fastballs, gave up a leadoff single to Kurt Suzuki and a walk to Joe Mauer. Then he battled with Josh Willingham, who fouled off three 3-2 pitches and seemed destined to walk and load the bases. Instead, one of his foul balls somehow didn’t hook into the stands and was caught.

“That ball did stay in; it looked like one of those balls that was going to slide out into the stands, but it didn’t,” Gardenhire said. “It just stayed there, their guy got there, and you’ve got to move on from there.”

OK, so Kendrys Morales did — and crushed a grounder to Mike Moustakas at third, a ball hit so hard that Moustakas bobbled it, ruining any chance for a double play. But he recovered to throw Morales out, and Trevor Plouffe flew out against reliever Aaron Crow to end the threat.

“I just know we’re not getting enough big hits right now,” Gardenhire said, “… [so there’s a] lot of pressure on our pitchers, too, to be really good.”

Yohan Pino wasn’t, though he wasn’t as bad as his last start. He gave up four runs on seven hits against the AL Central’s lowest-scoring team, lasting 5⅔ innings mostly because he held the top three hitters in the Royals lineup to a 1-for-14 night. But he also surrendered doubles to Alcides Escobar (which drove in two runs in the second) and Alex Gordon (who scored in the fourth), and a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the sixth.

“Pino was OK. He labored through the first three or four innings,” Gardenhire said. “Then he had a couple of decent innings there.”

Decent, but not good enough. Lately, that’s sort of a Twins tradition, too.

  • KANSAS CITY 6, TWINS 1

    Up next: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday vs. Kansas City • Target Field •

    TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 20 FINAL
Oakland 24
Cleveland 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Tennessee 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Detroit 11/23/14 12:00 PM
New England
Green Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Jacksonville 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Cincinnati 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tampa Bay 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Arizona 11/23/14 3:05 PM
Seattle
St. Louis 11/23/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Miami 11/23/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Washington 11/23/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
Dallas 11/23/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Phoenix 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Detroit 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Memphis
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Washington
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Minnesota
LA Lakers 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 8:00 PM
Denver
Chicago 9:30 PM
Portland
Utah 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Rangers 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
New Jersey 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Texas A&M 11 1st Half 7:54
Coll of Charleston 17
USC 12 1st Half 8:24
Drexel 21
Clemson 12:30 PM
Gardner-Webb
Dayton 1:30 PM
Connecticut
Akron 1:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Seton Hall 3:00 PM
Nevada
Valparaiso 3:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
UNC Greensboro 3:30 PM
Longwood
Syracuse 4:00 PM
Iowa
Central Conn St 4:00 PM
Towson
Boston College 4:00 PM
West Virginia
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Yale
Alcorn State 4:30 PM
Hampton
LSU 5:30 PM
Old Dominion
Prairie View 6:00 PM
Baylor
Montana State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
Maine 6:00 PM
Central Mich
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Wofford 6:00 PM
Fairfield
New Mexico 6:00 PM
George Mason
Troy 6:00 PM
Georgia
IUPU-Ft Wayne 6:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Hofstra
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Kentucky
Loyola-Chicago 6:00 PM
Michigan State
Toledo 6:00 PM
Oregon
Lehigh 6:00 PM
Rider
Charlotte 6:00 PM
South Carolina
UNLV 6:00 PM
Stanford
George Washington 6:00 PM
Virginia
Hiwassee 6:00 PM
Western Carolina
Texas 6:30 PM
California
Florida Memorial 6:30 PM
FIU
Southern Ill 6:30 PM
Kent State
Bethune-Cookman 6:30 PM
Monmouth
Delaware State 7:00 PM
Arkansas
ULM 7:00 PM
Florida
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
Illinois
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Jarvis Christian 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Milwaukee 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Xavier
Kennesaw St 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
North Dakota 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Iona 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
Louisiana 8:00 PM
Auburn
Georgia State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Penn State 8:00 PM
Cornell
Marshall 8:00 PM
Louisville
Oral Roberts 8:00 PM
Oregon State
UC Riverside 8:00 PM
Utah
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Washington St
Illinois State 8:00 PM
Weber State
Florida A&M 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Sam Houston St 8:00 PM
South Dakota
Temple 8:30 PM
Duke
Presbyterian 9:00 PM
American Univ
Delaware 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Washington 9:00 PM
Seattle
Kansas State 9:30 PM
Long Beach State
Pittsburgh 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 20 FINAL
Toledo 27
Kent State 0 Postponed
Buffalo 0
(12) Kansas State 26 FINAL
West Virginia 20
North Carolina 45 FINAL
(25) Duke 20
Arkansas State 27 FINAL
Texas State 45
Kent State 0 Cancelled
Buffalo 0
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Rice
Air Force 8:30 PM
San Diego St
San Jose St 8:30 PM
Utah State
Char Southern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(9) Georgia
South Alabama 11/22/14 11:00 AM
So Carolina
Rutgers 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(10) Michigan State
Minnesota 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(21) Nebraska
Northwestern 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(18) Marshall 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UAB
Kansas 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(23) Oklahoma
Indiana 11/22/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Penn State 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
(14) Eastern Ky 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Florida
TX-San Antonio 11/22/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
SMU 11/22/14 11:00 AM
UCF
Virginia Tech 11/22/14 11:30 AM
Wake Forest
Washington St 11/22/14 12:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Louisiana Tech 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Old Dominion
Western Mich 11/22/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich
New Mexico 11/22/14 12:30 PM
(22) Colorado State
Eastern Mich 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Appalachian St 11/22/14 1:00 PM
Louisiana
Tulsa 11/22/14 2:00 PM
Houston
(15) Arizona 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(20) Utah
FIU 11/22/14 2:30 PM
North Texas
(8) Ole Miss 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Louisville 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Notre Dame
Maryland 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Texas Tech 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa State
(14) Wisconsin 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Syracuse 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Boston College 11/22/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Georgia State 11/22/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Tulane 11/22/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Stanford 11/22/14 3:00 PM
California
Western Carolina 11/22/14 3:00 PM
(2) Alabama
ULM 11/22/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
So Florida 11/22/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
Colorado 11/22/14 3:30 PM
(3) Oregon
Fla Atlantic 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Samford 11/22/14 6:00 PM
(16) Auburn
Miami-Florida 11/22/14 6:00 PM
Virginia
Vanderbilt 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(4) Miss State
(19) Missouri 11/22/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
Oklahoma State 11/22/14 6:30 PM
(6) Baylor
(24) USC 11/22/14 7:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Cincinnati 11/22/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut
Boise State 11/22/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Washington
Fresno State 11/22/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
UNLV 11/22/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(5) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Montreal 11/23/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/23/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
TBA 11/30/14 5:00 PM
TBA
Delaware 31 2nd Half
East Carolina 43
Wiley 12 1st Half 8:35
Sam Houston St 13
SE Louisiana 12:00 PM
Troy
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
North Dakota
Eastern Kentucky 4:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Chattanooga 4:00 PM
(3) Notre Dame
UT Martin 5:00 PM
Dayton
William & Mary 5:00 PM
NC A&T
LSU-Alexandria 0 Cancelled
Nicholls 0
Eastern Illinois 5:00 PM
Florida State
Marquette 5:00 PM
Wake Forest
Columbia College 5:30 PM
SC State
Rider 5:30 PM
Towson
Jackson State 6:00 PM
Mercer
High Point 6:00 PM
NC State
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Alabama A&M 6:00 PM
Samford
Morehead St 6:00 PM
Indiana
Lehigh 6:00 PM
NJIT
Alabama 6:00 PM
Kansas
Canisius 6:00 PM
Bryant
San Diego State 6:00 PM
Furman
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Evansville 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Winthrop 6:00 PM
(4) Tennessee
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
Campbell
Elon 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Fordham
Columbia 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
USC 6:30 PM
Long Beach St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Massachusetts 7:00 PM
North Texas
Kent State 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Hampton 7:00 PM
Kansas State
Bradley 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Houston 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
North Florida 7:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Arizona 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
ULM 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Graceland 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Pepperdine 7:30 PM
(19) Iowa
Temple 7:30 PM
Georgetown
Denver 8:00 PM
Wyoming
(24) Gonzaga 8:00 PM
Montana State
Boise State 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Missouri 8:30 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Montana 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Villanova 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Seattle 10:30 PM
Washington St
(14) California 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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: What do you think of the new Twins home uniforms?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close