NEW YORK - Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was encouraged by the level of play his team showed despite losing 6-4 to the Yankees on Monday. He noted the 12-hit attack, including homers by Chris Parmelee and Michael Cuddyer and how the young players weren't overwhelmed.
But, in the end, all the Twins do these days is lose, lose and lose.
Monday's loss was the Twins' ninth in a row, matching their season-high losing streak. They are 9-37 over their past 46 games. That's rock-bottom baseball.
The Twins need to go 4-6 over their last 10 games to avoid losing 100 games for the second time in club history.
"No one wants to have 100 losses, and I damn sure don't want to manage a team with 100 losses," Gardenhire said. "The big thing for me right now, [the players] are getting after the game. Hopefully we'll continue that, and we won't lose 100 games if we can play like that against the rest of the league."
How that can happen with three minor leaguers in the starting rotation and injuries all over the place? Monday, lefthander Scott Diamond struggled with keeping the right tempo early on and was knocked out after four innings, five earned runs, 10 hits and three walks.
Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Nick Blackburn and Tsuyoshi Nishioka have been shut down because of injuries. Outfielder Jason Kubel should be shut down with a sore left foot. Righthander Scott Baker and outfielder Denard Span want to play before the regular season ends Sept. 28.
It's up to the inexperienced players to help the Twins avoid the ultimate embarrassment. They would be the second team ever to lose 100 games with a payroll of over $100 million.Speed demon
The Twins have not had many great moments this season. Jim Thome's 600th homer Aug. 15 and Francisco Liriano's no-hitter May 3 easily stand out.
There's plenty of room for Ben Revere to join the list.
The outfielder stole second base in the first and third innings to set the Twins' rookie stolen base record. His 32 steals top the 31 that Luis Rivas had in 2001.
"It's great," Revere said. "It's been fun. I've learned so many things since I have been up here that helps me. Getting taught by all these coaches, Cuddyer, Span helping me how to read the pitchers and stuff. It's pretty awesome, I'll say."
The 32 steals are the most by a Twins player since Carlos Gomez stole 33 in 2008. Before that, Otis Nixon stole 37 in 1998.
Behind Revere and Rivas, Willie Norwood (1978) and Chuck Knoblauch (1991) stole 25 bases as rookies. Marty Cordova had 20 in his 1995 AL Rookie of the Year season.How long for Kubel?
The Twins only had 24 players available Monday because of the slew of injuries they have suffered. The 24 included Kubel, who really shouldn't be playing because of a nagging left foot bruise.
Kubel came on the trip in case the Twins needed a pinch hitter. If he got on base, he would need a pinch runner, so Gardenhire could only use him in certain situations.
"I am the last reinforcement," Kubel boasted before the game.
He was not needed, as it turned out. It would not be surprising if Kubel is shut down sometime this week.Etc.
• Joe McIlvaine, a special assistant to the general manager for the Twins for the past 11 seasons, is leaving to take the same role for Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. McIlvaine, 64, previously served as GM with the Padres and Mets and had been with the Twins since 1998.
• Twins outfielder Jason Repko, who was hit in the head with a pitch from Cleveland's Justin Masterson on Sunday, underwent a CT scan that came back negative. Repko was to travel to New York to help fill out the bench, but he stayed in the Twin Cities to be examined.
• Infielder Alexi Casilla (hamstring) ran the bases Monday and will do it again Tuesday in front of Gardenhire. Barring a setback, Casilla could be activated in time for the series opener against Seattle.
• Baker (flexor strain) could be available out of the bullpen this week. He has been throwing on the side and wants to get a couple outings in for peace of mind going into the offseason.
• Regis Philbin threw out the first pitch Monday.
• Though the announced attendance for the game was 40,045, actual attendance was closer to 25,000. STATS LLC said the game drew the fewest fans at the new Yankee Stadium since its 2009 opening.