Because this is a family blog, I cannot print in its entirety what I shouted at the conclusion of Wednesday's Twins game. It did contain the words, "Are you kidding me?" and maybe a couple others.
Yep, the 13-12 loss to Oakland was one of those games. It was an all-timer — one that leaves fans scratching their heads, then pulling out their hair. Years from now, when the Twins lose another game in excruciating fashion, you will remember Wednesday's game as a point of comparison and might think: "Yeah, that game against Oakland was worse."
I talked about that game and this overall awful stretch of nine losses in 10 games with Twins beat writer Megan Ryan on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast. This year has already seen its share of gut punches, and Wednesday's defeat was just part of an overall narrative that has to leave the team concerned.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.
And for perspective on this game, let's take a look at some of the other memorable losses in Twins history to see just where Wednesday's game ranks.
This list was compiled with a lot of help from the Star Tribune's Ken Chia — who as bad luck would have it attended at least most of Wednesday's game in Oakland — as well as my own personal memories. These games are not in a particular order:
*The Jason Giambi grand slam game: Let's start on May 17, 2002. The Twins were at Yankee Stadium, where they had rallied from an 8-3 deficit to take a 9-8 lead into the ninth. But a one-out homer in the ninth by Bernie Williams sent the game into extra innings tied 9-9.
From there, Twins pitcher Jack Cressend improbably worked out of a bunch of jams, giving the Twins time to score three runs in the top of the 14th for a 12-9 lead. But ... Mike Trombley came on to pitch the bottom half and gave up a one-out grand slam to Giambi. Walk-off win, 13-12, a familiar score Wednesday.
Remember: This was the Twins' first division-winning team and there was no curse of the Yankees. Yet. It was just a sign of things to come.
*2004 ALDS Game 4: You could actually pick from two games in this series. And yes, we're getting the Yankees games out of the way first. The Twins had a 5-1 lead in the eighth inning and were seemingly on their way to setting up a winner-take-all Game 5 in Yankee Stadium. But a four-run eighth, keyed by a three-run Ruben Sierra home run, tied the score 5-5.
In extra innings, the Yankees scored what proved to be the winning run at the Dome on an Alex Rodriguez double, a steal of third, and a wild pitch. Just like that, the Twins were eliminated. Who knew A-Rod would go on to own another Minnesota team 17 years later.
*July 23, 2019, Yankees 14, Twins 12: This was a great game — back and forth, a lot of highlights, two very good teams going at it. But it stings more in hindsight. The Twins led 9-5 at Target Field heading into the eighth inning. Rallies by both teams sent the game into extra innings. The Yankees scored twice; the Twins loaded the bases, but Max Kepler's two-out smash to the gap was grabbed by a diving Aaron Hicks — serving as a reminder of a bad past trade for John Ryan Murphy (more on him in a minute, courtesy of Chia).
At the time, an optimist looked at that series as proof the Twins could hang with the Yankees. When they were swept (again) in the playoffs, it seemed that game in July was just another reminder of how the Twins keep coming up short.
*July 20, 2009: As Chia noted, the game on Wednesday might not even be the worst Twins loss in Oakland in the past 20 years. On that date, the Twins gave back a 12-2 lead and lost 14-13. A Matt Holliday grand slam tied the game in the seventh. Michael Cuddyer tried to score from second base on a wild pitch in the 9th but was thrown out (even though he appeared safe) to end the game.
*Sept. 28, 1984: Twins fans of a certain age have this date etched in their memories. The upstart Twins were tied for the division lead heading into the final week. But they ended on a six-game losing streak, with a walk-off 11-10 loss to Cleveland after being ahead 10-2 serving as the cruelest blow. I will spare you the details, but it was Ron Davis' 14th blown save of the year.
Oct 4, 1981: I did not know about this game, and it ultimately didn't matter much in the grand scheme of things. But a 13-12 loss to the White Sox — again, familiar Twins heartbreak score — featured: the Twins taking a 12-5 lead into the 8th, then watching Chicago pull within 12-9 on a grand slam aided by an error that extended the inning. Then with two outs and nobody on in the ninth, the White Sox strung together five singles and a walk for the win.
April 24, 2016: Again, this game didn't end up meaning much. The Twins wound up losing 103 games in their Total System Failure season. But it had a too-familiar ending if you watched Wednesday's game. The Twins took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 15th against the Nationals, and it looked like Ryan O'Rourke might get his first career win after stellar work in relief.
But after a two-out walk to Danny Espinosa, O'Rourke was lifted for Michael Tonkin. Espinosa stole second and then scored on an error by Murphy when his throw on a bunt attempt sailed over first base. The Nationals tied it and won the next inning. O'Rourke never won a game in the major leagues.