On Monday, the Minnesota Twins rode their hot streak into frigid conditions at Kauffman Stadium for a three-game set against the surging Kansas City Royals. Unfortunately, as a Twins fan, you wish that Winter Storm Walda had washed this series from the calendar as Minnesota was swept by their division rival in an uninspired offensive showing.Like most areas from Michigan to the Rocky Mountains, the weather was less than ideal for baseball, but that can’t be viewed as an excuse for how Twins batters stranded an astonishing 26 men on base. The heart of the order choked in multiple clutch situations with runners in scoring position; and after dropping the first two games, those struggles were further showcased early-on in the finale when they failed to register a run and left the bases loaded in each of the first two innings. Liam Hendriks (5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 K) surrendered a solo home run to Billy Butler in the bottom of the first, and that would be more than enough as Minnesota was blanked for the first time to fall to 4-5 on the young season.
All in all, it was an underwhelming performance from Gardenhire’s group as they were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game by the younger, hungrier Royals, who improved to 6-3 and took sole possession of first place in the AL Central. If you care to wallow more, abbreviated recaps of the series’ previous games can be found below.
Kevin Correia (7.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 1 BB) was brilliant until a Lorenzo Cain double paved the way for a three-run eighth inning, which was capped by an RBI-single from Billy Butler to put the Royals ahead for good, 3-1. Minnesota’s lone run came in the first inning on an RBI-single from Ryan Doumit, but after that, they were dominated by newcomer Ervin Santana (8 IP, 1 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 7 K), who clearly won-over his new fans with a stellar showing in their home opener.
From a weather perspective, the outlook is bleak for the upcoming three-game, interleague Series with the Mets (5-4) that kicks-off Friday night at 7:10 CST. The Twins will look to get back on track at home when Scott Diamond comes off the DL to make his season debut against New York’s Jonathon Niese (1-0, 2.13 ERA).