OAKLAND, CALIF. – The Twins' trip through California dragged on and on and on, with three games postponed because of COVID-19 issues before a Tuesday doubleheader against the A's.
Then Wednesday's marathon at RingCentral Coliseum sent the Twins home exhausted. In a couple of ways, actually.
"It's been a hell of a trip," manager Rocco Baldelli said, "in not a good way."
With the taxi squad reinforcements spent, the bullpen depleted, Nelson Cruz playing on empty and a game that lasted more than four hours, the Twins lost 13-12 in extra innings, where the team is 0-for-4 this season.
Luis Arraez's throwing error with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning — the team's second error of the inning — was the final blow that brought the Twins to a 6-11 record. They walked off the field, heads hung, and tried not to let a swarm of green jerseys celebrating an 11-game win streak swallow them whole after a late-game rally.
The Twins have lost nine of their past 10, and reliever Alexander Colome blew his third save of the year.
Baldelli called Wednesday "a difficult" one when "nothing came easy." That manifested in bungled routine plays and fluky bad bounces, such as when the ball lodged in Josh Donaldson's glove and prevented him from throwing a runner out at first.
And those dimmed any bright spots, such as Cruz's two homers despite a sore ankle that prevented him from hitting in the final inning. Or Byron Buxton as a whole, who made lead-preserving diving catches in the outfield and launched a two-run homer in the 10th inning. And Buxton did all that even without feeling quite himself, as he only returned Tuesday from a week's layoff because of a hamstring injury and the postponements.
"I wish I was sitting here telling you those were game-winning plays," Baldelli said, "because they really should have been."
But the 12-10 lead Buxton carried the Twins to didn't last. In the bottom of the 10th, Colome loaded the bases with two outs, and a run scored when second baseman Travis Blankenhorn, who came into the game as a pinch runner at second base for the extra inning in Donaldson's stead, booted Mark Canha's grounder to second. Ramon Laureano then grounded to third baseman Arraez, who had shifted from second to third with Blankenhorn's inclusion, but his throw sailed way high as two runs scored.
A day after being shut out in both games of a doubleheader for the first time in 60 years, the Twins found their offense with 18 hits, including a Donaldson homer and four hits from Jorge Polanco, but it wasn't enough.
Starting pitcher Kenta Maeda again struggled, lasting just three innings for his shortest game as a Twins player. Olson homered twice off him, part of Maeda's seven allowed.
"I couldn't really set the tone of the game to begin with," Maeda said. "And had I done that, I think we could have got that W."
Instead the Twins are winless on this road trip, with seemingly the only positive to take from the West Coast that they can at least finally leave it.
When walking back to the clubhouse Wednesday after the loss, there was nothing said, nothing discussed
"We're having a tough time," Baldelli said. "We're not playing especially well right now. And when that happens, sometimes you can feel it. All the things that you try to do to suppress it or sidestep it, it's there, one way or the other.
"… We're going to get to that point where we figure … we know exactly what we have to do and how to do it. We just have not done it yet."