Hector Santiago was charged with the loss on Sunday, but Kennys Vargas lost a lot more. He lost his job.
The Twins bullpen was forced to throw 201 pitches and absorb 9⅔ innings in the 15-inning defeat, with all seven relievers and Santiago, Wednesday's scheduled starter, forced into action. That doesn't bode well for Monday's game against Houston.
"It's pretty obvious something needs to be done," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We just need pitching, there's no two ways about it."
Molitor conferred with bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine after the game, and they decided to add two relief pitchers Monday. But that means returning Vargas, who went 0-for-8 Sunday and struck out four times, to Class AAA Rochester to make room.
In addition, righthander Justin Haley, who threw 40 pitches and retired five batters late in the game, will go back on the 10-day disabled list, where he spent the latter part of April because of a biceps injury. "Haley's shoulder still isn't quite right," Molitor said. "He's got a little stiffness in there."
The Twins will reveal their additions Monday. Drew Rucinski, Buddy Boshers and Nick Tepesch are all on the 40-man roster and have pitched with the Twins this season. Michael Tonkin is at Rochester, too, though he would require opening another spot on the roster.
Vargas had an eventful monthlong stay with the Twins, including five home runs. He batted .255, but the switch hitter also concerned the Twins with his increasing split differential: He entered Sunday batting .362 with a 1.090 OPS against righthanders, but .087 and a .207 OPS against lefthanders.
"He's been working on his swing," Molitor said. "Like everybody, he's got certain holes, and the one [batting] righthanded is a little bigger right now."
Kyle Gibson lasted into the sixth inning Sunday and was probably effective enough to keep his spot in the starting rotation, though it didn't look like it at first. Six batters into his latest "last chance," he had given up two runs, two hits and two walks.
"I lost a little bit of command from the bullpen to the mound. I don't know what happened that first inning," Gibson said. "But I had a clean second, and then got into a little bit of a groove."
He did, mostly by improving at a skill that so often eludes him: first-pitch strikes. Gibson got ahead of 15 of his 23 batters, facing only three hitters each in the second, third and fourth innings.
A pair of two-out hits, combined with right fielder Max Kepler's error fielding a Kevin Kiermaier double, cost Gibson an unearned run in the fifth inning, but his final numbers were respectable: 5⅓ innings, three runs, five hits, four walks and four strikeouts. With Phil Hughes on the disabled list, it appears likely that the Twins will stick with the 29-year-old Gibson, and send him to the mound Friday in Anaheim.
• Hughes traveled on Sunday to Houston, where he will undergo an examination on Monday by vascular specialist Gregory Pearl. The righthander is seeking a second opinion in hopes of learning why he experienced soreness in his shoulder and a loss of velocity a week ago, symptoms similar to the thoracic outlet syndrome that required surgery last year.
• With four hits and three walks, Joe Mauer became the second Twins player to reach base seven times in a game. Rod Carew holds the team record with eight, collecting five hits and three walks in a 22-inning loss to Milwaukee on May 12, 1972.
• Eddie Rosario hesitated too long to break for the plate on Byron Buxton's steal of second base in the fourth inning, becoming the first Twins player to be thrown out trying to steal home since Torii Hunter in 2015. The Twins haven't had a successful steal of home since Clete Thomas in 2013.