As much as the Twins believe they are a better team than a year ago, their record and the standings are arguments against that.
They will wake up Saturday alone in last place in the American League Central and with the worst record in baseball. The season isn't even a month old, but they are 10 games under .500 and morale is being tested again.
They fell short Friday night in a 7-6 loss to Kansas City at Target Field, in which the Royals won a one-run game for the first time all season.
The Twins have dropped six consecutive games, dropping them to 5-15. And the home clubhouse was silent and largely empty after the game.
"We're not happy," said outfielder Trevor Plouffe, who hit his first home run of the season. "Make no mistake about that. This is not where we want to be. You can't dwell on it. You have to keep going at it and go try to win the next game."
Kansas City broke open a 5-5 game in the eighth with RBI singles by Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar. The Twins scored in the bottom of the eighth on a grounder by Alexi Casilla.
It was another frustrating game for the Twins, who watched Kansas City win its third consecutive game following a 12-game losing streak by doing just a little more than they did.
Left fielder Alex Gordon jumped high enough at the wall in the second inning to steal a home run from Danny Valencia. Escobar, at shortstop, made a nifty play to throw out Justin Morneau in the fifth.
The Royals even got a break in the seventh, when the Twins put the two baserunners on against former Twins lefthander Jose Mijares. Replays showed that right fielder Jeff Francoeur trapped Ryan Doumit's sinking liner in the seventh -- but it was ruled a catch. Francoeur rose to his feet and threw to first to double off Joe Mauer, who had taken off for second.
The Twins came back from 2-0, 4-3 and 5-4 deficits and tied the score late, but the Royals held them off. Reliever Kelvin Herrera fired fastballs that reached 99 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun and closer Jonathan Broxton struck out Mauer and Morneau for the final two outs of the game.
Billy Butler was 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI, and Gordon was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and two walks. Mijares got the victory in relief.
"We have to find a way to win," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "No matter how you look at it."
The Twins did score six runs, which, on most nights, would mean a victory with righthander Carl Pavano on the mound. But Pavano couldn't hit his spots and felt a little off, mechanically. The Royals were on the board minutes into the game when Jarrod Dyson reached on Morneau's fielding error and Gordon clobbered a two-run homer to right.
It was a battle for Pavano after that. In 6 1/3 innings, he gave up four earned runs, six hits and a walk.
Gardenhire was asked if he was worried about things getting too tough for his players.
"If they lay down they don't deserve to be here,'' Gardenhire said. "I don't think we're going to have anybody lay down out there. They are getting at it pretty hard and are rooting for each other pretty hard. Is it getting frustrating? Is it getting harder? Absolutely. We want to win a game and you need to shake hands."