Monday at Target Field was just like a movie: a cinematic early summer evening with temperatures in the 70s, a light breeze and a slow sunset.
But the scenes that played out for the Twins weren't the triumphant climaxes of "The Natural" or "A League of Their Own." No, this performance hearkened to the manufactured rainout from "Bull Durham" or the part in "Major League: Back to the Minors," when a fictional incarnation of the Twins actually did have the Metrodome lights cut to avoid an embarrassing loss.
In the midst of another cringey loss to the Chicago White Sox, summoning the weather gods or conjuring a power surge might have been easier and less painful options than watching another hapless defeat to the team the Twins were supposed to be neck-and-neck with for the AL Central title this season.
Instead, after another big loss — 16-4 this time — the Twins fell 11½ games behind the division-leading White Sox. At 13-26, the Twins remain the worst team in baseball.
Manager Rocco Baldelli titled this film "forgettable" and "not OK." The announced 8,431 fans in attendance oscillated between cheering for the 25-15 White Sox and booing an apparently defenseless and offense-less home team.
"The people that care about the Twins and the people that support us should be frustrated, just like we're frustrated," Baldelli said. "If you care about the team and how we're playing, there's no way to be to be pleased with what you're watching.
"We need to go out there and play better. That'll fix things."
Twins starter J.A. Happ, who had been the most reliable pitcher early in the season, picked up right where he left off from his last start, his career-worst nine-hit, nine-run game at Chicago last week.
Happ loaded the bases from two hits and a walk to start the game, and all three runners came around to score. He exited after 3⅓ innings, giving up seven hits, six earned runs and three walks while striking out just one.
Happ couldn't even remember his lines postgame, responding to a question about the tenor of the clubhouse with an awkward 10-second pause and an eventual, "I don't know if I can answer that."
The bullpen only made matters worse. Derek Law surrendered a grand slam to Danny Mendick in his 1⅓ innings. Shaun Anderson gave up four hits, four earned runs and two walks in his two innings. Jorge Alcala, at least, gave up only one run and one hit with two walks in his inning.
Meanwhile, the Twins offense was a stark comparison to the White Sox. While the visitors excelled at stringing good at-bats together, the Twins were mostly incapable of that.
Nelson Cruz seemed bewildered to find himself in this bad of a plot. "We didn't see ourselves starting the season this way," he said. "… I haven't been in situations like this before."
The Twins couldn't even pull off a semi-heartwarming ending, with crowd pleaser Willians Astudillo pitching the ninth down 15-4. The stadium was the loudest all game, hollering after every 45-mile-per-hour toss.
Yermin Mercedes, though, assumed his role as the antagonist, blasting a home run with nearly triple the exit velocity of the original pitch for one last Chicago run.
That resolution replayed in Baldelli's mind all night long.
"It's what I think about every day, all day, and what I go home thinking about, too," Baldelli said. "… By now we've explored, talked about, dug into much of … what we think we could do to help turn things around."
Back to the storyboard for another rewrite, this time aiming for a more inspiring conclusion.