ARLINGTON, TEXAS - The Twins' pitching was such a mess on Monday that only two of the six pitchers who appeared in the game put up a goose egg -- and one of them just appeared in the All-Star Game as a first baseman.
Michael Cuddyer had to come in to pitch the eighth inning, to prop up a bullpen that already is pitching on fumes, to get the Twins off the field and eventually into the showers to try to rinse off the shame following a record-setting 20-6 bludgeoning by the Rangers. Their 20 runs on 27 hits are both highs in the majors this season.
"The first five innings looked like a zip code," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So that tells you how it went for us. I think that's somewhere in New York."
Actually, it's somewhere in Fort Lauderdale.
The Rangers' scoring line over the first five innings went three, three, five, three, four. The Twins were on their fourth pitcher by then -- and on their way to one of their worst beatdowns ever.
Texas' 27 hits set a Twins record for hits allowed in a game. The 20 runs tied the second-most they have given up in a game.
It was less than a month ago -- June 27 -- that the Twins gave up 15 runs on 25 hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"You never expect a game to go this way," said Texas infielder Michael Young, who was 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI. "When you have a game like this, you reminder yourself of what it's like to be on the other end. I've been on that end before. We have a lot of respect for that team. It's a very professional team and has always been that way. Obviously, we expect a much tougher game tomorrow."
When Rangers hitters weren't teeing off on pitching, the Twins were a disaster on defense.
Shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka was knocked off balance by two hard-hit grounders and also committed a throwing error. Left fielder Delmon Young airmailed a throw to second, and Cuddyer failed to back up the play as the ball scooted into foul territory.
Trevor Plouffe misjudged Mitch Moreland's line drive in the fourth so badly, he looked like he was running an out-and-up pattern in right field.
Reliever Jose Mijares couldn't handle Elvis Andrus' comebacker in the fourth, dropping the ball as he tried to pick it up, and getting charged with an error.
"Ugly night for us," Gardenhire said. "Probably the worst I've had here as manager as far as runs scored."
Gardenhire had to turn to Cuddyer in the eighth, making him the first Twins position player to pitch since John Moses on July 31, 1990, against California.
"Putting Cuddyer out there was a nightmare, but you have to put somebody out there and he would have killed me if I would have put anyone else out there," Gardenhire said. "That was his one goal in his career was to pitch."
Cuddyer loaded the bases but got out of the jam for his scoreless inning. He touched 88 miles per hour and looked like he had been on a mound before.
"Obviously, the circumstances for me getting out there aren't what you want," Cuddyer said, "but I was excited. It was fun out there. I got to work through some trouble. I was just surprised I threw some strikes."