For all the Twins have rued their seeming bad luck in 2021, the fates certainly seemed on their side Wednesday.
Good bounces. Overturned home run calls. Ground balls rolling just foul. All teetered the Twins' way. Even the bullpen held it together. Mostly.
But it still wasn't enough, as the Twins wasted a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the fourth inning and never managed to score again in a 3-1 loss to Texas before an announced crowd of 7,853 at Target Field.
"When you're not playing well, when you're not really putting it together, any time you're losing ballgames, it is going to be one thing or another," manager Rocco Baldelli said of how his team has been unable to come together in harmony for more than a single note. "… Through a month-plus, we haven't been able to do that."
Mitch Garver put the Twins up in the second inning, hitting his sixth home run of the season 429 feet. But that was it for the offense, which has largely gone quiet in back-to-back losses after scoring 41 runs over the previous five games.
Texas tied the score in the fourth inning with Joey Gallo's groundout bringing in Nick Solak. That came after Tuesday hero Adolis Garcia had a three-run homer down the right-field line reversed on replay with the ball swinging foul. Garcia then struck out.
The Twins — who struck out seven times the first time through the order against lefthander Hyeon-Jong Yang — had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Nelson Cruz led off with a single, then went to third on Kyle Garlick's double. Garver walked to load the bases.
But Yang struck out Jorge Polanco, and the Rangers then brought in reliever John King. He induced a fielder's choice from Max Kepler to retire Cruz at home before baiting Miguel Sano to ground into a force play to end the inning and the Twins' brief moment of hope.
Two innings later, Texas again put runners on first and third with nobody out against Lewis Thorpe, making his second start of the year for the Twins. Cody Stashak replaced the lefthander, but the go-ahead run scored when a wild pitch bounced up off Garver's catcher's mask. A sacrifice fly from Andy Ibanez, who made his MLB debut Tuesday, brought the margin to two runs.
One of the Twins' receipts for their abnormally unlucky start to the year has to do with personnel, as the team has hardly played with its first-choice Opening Day lineup all together. Wednesday, the Twins activated Sano from the injured list, but he took the roster spot of red-hot rookie Alex Kirilloff, who landed on the IL because of a wrist sprain.
Sano, having recovered from a hamstring injury, struck out in his first plate appearance Wednesday, but he did hit a single in the seventh inning, drew a two-out walk in the ninth and also made a diving play to cut off a line drive and prevent a run from scoring.
In five-plus innings, Thorpe gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two. Alexander Colome offered an encouraging sign with two shutout innings. But it didn't matter, not with the Twins striking out 15 times while wasting leadoff hits in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
"We have the personnel, we have the people here to play the kind of games that we're looking for. I know that," Baldelli said. "… When you don't win a lot of different games that you feel deep down you just should have won, that confidence, it gets tested.
"And I think that us coming together and realizing that we're the only ones that are going to be able to figure this out and go out there and move forward and get where we need to be, we're responsible for that."