OAKLAND, CALIF. – Even the Oakland Coliseum had apparently seen enough.
In the fifth inning of Tuesday's second game of a doubleheader, the wall of left-field lights atop the stadium suddenly went dark. And while lighting — not lightning — delays aren't unheard of at the 55-year-old park, the timing was a little too conspicuous to go unchecked.
The Twins had already lost 7-0 in the first game, giving up three home runs, including a grand slam. They lost the second 1-0, marking the first time since their inaugural season of 1961 they were shut out in both ends of a doubleheader.
The Twins trailed by that 1-0 deficit in Game 2 when the electricity failed, forcing a 25-minute delay that the in-game sound system chose to fill with a light-themed playlist, including Kanye West's "All of the Lights" and Demi Lovato's "Neon Lights."
Eventually, one bulb illuminated. The two outermost panels then mostly relit. And the teams bravely decided to soldier on in a slightly dimmer atmosphere. A delay, though, was really not what the Twins needed, after just emerging from two days of fairly strict quarantining after an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases on the team.
The Twins finished the second game with only two hits, both singles. They left the tying run on third base in the sixth inning, when Josh Donaldson was called out on strikes against reliever Lou Trivino, and then failed to take advantage in the seventh and final inning, when A's shortstop Elvis Andrus' error put two runners on with one out. Jake Diekman retired Brent Rooker and Willians Astudillo, leaving the visiting team with their eighth loss in nine games.
Meanwhile, the Coliseum might be failing, but its team is not. The A's have won 10 games in a row, the majors' longest winning streak so far this season.
This makes back-to-back shutout losses for the Twins for the first time since 2015. And in two seven-inning doubleheaders this season, the Twins have managed two, one, zero and zero runs for an 0-4 record.
"Sometimes a day off is needed, but when you have multiple, it kind of gets guys out of rhythm, makes everyone kind of rusty," said Twins pitcher Matt Shoemaker, who started the first game and gave up two home runs to arch-nemesis Mitch Moreland, now with five home runs in 14 career at-bats against the righthander. "… It's definitely a unique — and up to this point — not great road trip for me personally and for the team."
The Twins fell 10-3 to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday to start off the California swing before having Saturday, Sunday and Monday games postponed when positive COVID-19 tests on the Twins climbed to four.
Justin Upton hit a grand slam in that road trip opener off lefthander Caleb Thielbar. And for the second consecutive game, though days apart, the Twins gave up another grand slam on Matt Olson's shot off Jorge Alcala that banked in off the right field foul in the fourth inning of the first game Tuesday. Former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo also had a slam off Randy Dobnak in the ninth inning of an April 5 victory at Detroit, so through 15 games this year, the Twins had coughed up a grand slam in 20% of them.
Sean Manaea pitched his second career complete game, albeit a seven-inning one, giving up six hits and one walk while striking out seven in Game 1. Shoemaker (1-1) went 3⅓ innings and gave up four hits, five earned runs and four walks.
In the second game, Jose Berrios (2-2) went through five innings, giving up four hits, an earned run and a walk but striking out five. Jesus Lozardo lasted 5⅓ innings for the A's, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out six.
The discombobulated Twins defense also struggled, committing two errors in the first game, as only three available outfielders forced some lineup creativity. Their depth was dented even further when first baseman Miguel Sano did not play in the second game after experiencing a tight right hamstring in the opener. A limping Nelson Cruz will also undergo some evaluation after a pitch hit him late in the game.
But manager Rocco Baldelli wasn't quite ready to invoke Murphy's Law on this nightmarish road trip. Maybe because there's still one more day game Wednesday to turn it around. Or make it worse.
"We go out of our way," Baldelli said, "to not look at things like that."