This end-of-August weekend marks the end of baseball's brief stay in the summer spotlight. In the week ahead, the Gophers open, the Vikings set their roster, the preps start up, and football's kingship is back in full force.

Before the spotlight dimmed, the Twins returned to Target Field, appearing to be running on empty, while the Ada A's gassed up and headed 300 miles southeast to resume a long-shot bid for glory in the state Class C amateur tournament. Patrick Reusse has the report from both stops.

The Twins put on a fantastic display of inept hitting during a six-game losing streak that occurred against both Texas teams. This started with the lowly Rangers at Target Field, then concluded with the three-game mismatch against the AL-best Astros in Houston.

The media gathered in Rocco Baldelli's office three hours before Friday's home game and some expressed concern that the manager, his players and other members of the travel party would be entering the fray vs. San Francisco in a sleep-deprived condition after the late return from Houston.

The Twins' charter plane had not landed until 3 a.m., and then those rides home … lucky to be tucked in much more before the birds started greeting the dawn.

This was the traditional schmooze before getting around to veiled varieties of the true topic: Rocco, what has caused your team to go from mediocrity to utter futility in hitting as it sinks in the AL Central standings?

Baldelli went with the belief that he had good players, and that those players would again start to perform.

The manager also stated the one-fourth of the schedule that remained could result in the Twins' best baseball of a season. Baldelli wasn't making a prediction, just raising the possibility — as a modern manager must.

One of the chief culprits in the Twins' tumble at the plate has been shortstop Carlos Correa. Agent Scott Boras delivered Correa to the Twins on an opt-out deal paying him $36 million in 2022.

Great shortstop, but a flop as a clutch hitter. And then Friday in the first inning, Correa smacked a two-run home run off Giants lefty Alex Wood, the Twins were off to a 9-0 win, and Rocco's comment about good players starting to perform was prophetic, however briefly.

Baldelli's first season as manager was in 2019, and he hit a jackpot. He greeted his hitters in the dugout 307 times after home runs (an all-time major league record), went 101-61 and was voted as the AL Manager of the Year.

Yes, it was the year of the atomic baseball, but even when you add that 10% to 15% to production, Baldelli was the recipient of a handful of players having "career years'' — meaning, non-superstars better than they ever had been or would be in the future:

Mitch Garver, 31 home runs, .273. Miguel Sano, 34 home runs, 79 RBI, in 109 games. Eddie Rosario, 32 home runs, 109 RBI. Max Kepler, 36 home runs, 90 RBI. Jorge Polanco, 22, 75, .295 and starting shortstop in All-Star Game.

Plus, 41 home runs, 108 RBI and .311 from 39-year-old Nelson Cruz, and a combined 63 home runs from C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop and super-sub Marwin Gonzalez.

Gone: Garver, one-year wonder. Rosario, an amazing NLCS for Atlanta in 2021 and little else. Cron's still a threat in Colorado; Schoop and Gonzalez hanging on; Cruz, winding down at 42 with last-place Washington.

Still here: Kepler, a detriment as king of the three-hopper to the right side. Polanco, excellent second baseman, hitting under .240. Byron Buxton, played 87 games in 2019; now at 92 but on injured list, and he's become Sano-like — 28 home runs, .224 and 116 strikeouts.

Here but forgotten: Sano. One home run, two knee surgeries, three RBI.

"Rocco, you had five, six guys with career years in 2019; you have nobody other than Luis Arraez in that category in 2022,'' I said Friday, not putting it in the form of a question.

Baldelli offered a nod, a few remarks about hitters feeding off one another, and then more hope of better things for these hitters over this final quarter of the schedule.