Lost weekend against Tampa Bay offers Twins a dose of reality

  • Article by: MEGAN RYAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 21, 2014 - 12:58 AM

The Twins’ pre-break optimism faded following a sweep by the Rays.

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The Twins issued a challenge after the All-Star break — become a better-than-mediocre team.

Being swept in their first series back probably wasn’t the best way to respond.

The Tampa Bay Rays capped a three-game sweep with a 5-3 victory Sunday at Target Field, the 1,000th loss of manager Ron Gardenhire’s career.

The Twins entered the All-Star break following a 5-2 road trip at Seattle and Colorado, and came out of it with a 10-game homestand that began against a Rays team with a nearly identical record as theirs.

Gardenhire said he didn’t think the break was what disrupted his team, which fell to nine games below .500 at 44-53.

“We played 20 games in a row,” he said. “As well as we were playing, but we were also beat-up and gassed. It was a good time for [the break], and we just didn’t come out on this side swinging well.”

General Manager Terry Ryan was hesitant to say what appears clear, that his team is not a serious postseason contender.

“Until we get to .500, you’re not exactly where you want to be at this juncture in the season,” Ryan said before the game. “We’re not at .500, and frankly, we’re way below .500.”

A big reason for that: The Twins have left too many runners on base. They went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position Sunday. They couldn’t score after putting the first two runners on in the fifth inning, and they also came up empty with the tying runs on base in the ninth.

“We’re desperately needing these guys to pick up some of those runs and get us back in the game,” Gardenhire said. “The chances that we did have were good chances to score runs, and we didn’t take advantage of them. And that’s frustrating.”

Gardenhire attributed the problem to his batters wasting pitches, especially against a Rays bullpen he knew wouldn’t give many opportunities after Chris Archer (6-5) was removed.

“Once you get a good pitch, you can’t foul them out,” Gardenhire said. “We fouled a lot of pitches off today.”

Center fielder Sam Fuld, who went 1-for-2 with a walk and has hit in 13 of 15 games this month, said it was disheartening to see the team’s momentum change course with the sweep.

“It’s tough,” Fuld said. “It was nice to end the first half on a good note like that, and you always hope that momentum carries over.”

For the third day in a row, the Twins starting pitcher faltered early. Kevin Correia had pitched six-plus innings in seven consecutive games going into the break, but he lasted only four on Sunday. He needed 91 pitches to get that far, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks. Tampa Bay scored off him in each of the first three innings, with the big blow being James Loney’s two-run single in the first.

“He kept the damage to a minimum, but he labored through it,” Gardenhire said of Correia, who fell to 5-12 and became the majors’ first 12-game loser. “He really didn’t command too much today, and he had to fight through everything.”

Gardenhire said he wasn’t concerning himself too much with the looming July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, which could see the Twins deal veterans to playoff contenders. But Correia said the threat is all too real in the clubhouse.

“We need a miraculous run right now, so it’s got to start soon if it’s going to happen,” Correia said. “If not, if we lose bunch of games, we’re going to play our way right out of here and then whatever has to happen has to happen.

“We all have a lot of confidence in this clubhouse with each other, and we want to keep this group together.”

  • Tampa Bay 5, Twins 3

    Up next: 7:10 p.m. Monday vs. Cleveland • Target Field • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

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Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
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Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
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New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
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(3) Alabama
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FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
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Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
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Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
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Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
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