The Twins’ 7-4 loss Tuesday will be remembered for the debacle in the 10th inning when the game sped up on reliever John Curtiss, leading to three Blue Jays runs.
But the game also provided more examples of the state of Twins baseball since Opening Day.
Another starter failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning. The bullpen couldn’t keep the Blue Jays from tying the score in the eighth. And after Eddie Rosario’s two-run homer in the sixth provided a 4-3 lead, 13 of the next 14 Twins hitters made outs.
They can no longer comfort themselves by thinking it’s early. They have played too much bad baseball to take that approach.
“I think it’s tough,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It can beat you up. You talk about being tested, adversity, all those types of things that come. This is getting really challenging.
“For being May 1.”
Tyler Clippard (4-0) got the victory for the Blue Jays.
What happened with Curtiss on the mound and the score tied 4-4 in the 10th amplified everything.
Kevin Pillar hit a ringing double off the scoreboard in right. Curtiss did strike out Lourdes Gurriel, getting his help by chasing a fastball well off the plate.
Kendrys Morales, after hitting two homers earlier in the game — was intentionally walked for the second time. This is where things really got away from the Twins.
With Luke Maile at the plate — and the Twins telling Curtiss to pay closer attention to the baserunners — Pillar stole third.
“It looked like he was looking right at him when he was taking his lead and creating momentum,” Molitor said. “We were kind of yelling at him to step off, and he pitched.”
Pillar slid into third without a throw. On the next pitch, Morales stole second — his first stolen base since 2009 and only the fifth of his career. Catcher Mitch Garver, knowing Pillar would take off for home if he threw to second, held onto the ball.
Maile walked to load the bases. Curtiss, while facing Aledmys Diaz, threw a wild pitch to allow Pillar to score.
Diaz then hit a sharp grounder right at Gregorio Petit, who was playing in his first game since being called up from Class AAA Rochester. Petit deflected the ball to his right, then scrambled to grab the ball for a throw to third that was late. Pinch runner Gift Ngoepe scored to make it 6-4. Curtiss then threw a wild pitch to allow Maile to score.
It unfolded rather quickly, and had many among the announced crowd of 16,245 booing. Not long after that, the Twins optioned Curtiss to Class AAA Rochester to make room for Fernando Romero, who will make his major league debut Wednesday.
“It’s just one of those nights,” Twins righthander Kyle Gibson said. “It seems like how it’s been going. Just days and stretches where no matter who you throw out there, some crazy things are going to happen. Seems like we have been in one of those stretches.”
The Twins have lost three consecutive games and 11 of their past 12. Gibson held Toronto to two runs over five innings but needed 96 pitches to do it. In addition to Rosario’s home run, Joe Mauer homered to right in the first inning for his first home run in 104 plate appearances going back to last year.
Toronto got home runs from Morales in the fifth and sixth innings — and can sweep the series by winning Wednesday.
“We’re kind of getting what we deserve in some ways,” Molitor said. “We’re not finding ways to play clean baseball. And it is biting us big time.”