Twins Lose 3-0; Fall to Frozen Earth in K.C.

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.

The Royals celebrate their series sweep of the Twins. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Game 1

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.

Game 2

Apr 9, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (7) strikes out for the final out of the ninth inning in the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday’s tilt provided slightly warmer temperatures and more offensive output, but again it was the Royals who would come out on top. Following a Joe Mauer solo shot in the first, Kansas City tagged Wichita State product Mike Pelfrey (2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER) in the bottom-half of the inning for five runs, and they would never look back en route to a 7-4 victory. Eduardo Escobar (3-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI) continued to rake and Josh Willingham added his second dinger of the year, but the Royals already had the runs they needed. Minnesota would threaten, but a Mauer strikeout with bases loaded in the ninth would end the game and ensure the series win for Kansas City.

Next Opponent

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).

Topics: AL Central, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins

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