Tuesday could not have gone worse for the Minnesota Twins. After a convincing win in Game 2 on Sunday, one that had experts starting to put some respect on their name, the Twins bottomed out hard in Game 3.
Minnesota got obliterated by Houston, losing 9-1 and now facing back-to-back must-win games. It was a bad loss, but hopefully not the kind that zaps all of the budding confidence the team has shown through its otherwise spectacular postseason run.
As great as the Twins have looked, its biggest weakness were exposed by Houston in Game 3. Sonny Gray gave up a quick four runs and the Twins bats went silent in ways that harkened back to struggles earlier in the season. Runners were left stranded, the bullpen imploded, even the shadows and mother nature seemed to be against the Twins.
The series isn't over, but there's cause for concern with how Minnesota lost. In Game 1, the team battled back to score four runs in the seventh inning to start building momentum that carried into the next game. That didn't happen in Game 3, which was a total ass kicking from start to finish.
Here's some silver lining: Minnesota can send the series back to Houston with a win in Game 4, something that could inspire the sort of momentum shift we saw in the first two games. Sending the series back to Houston off a win rather than a loss seemed like the ideal situation from the start, but now it's the only option the Twins have and some things need to be fixed if that's going to happen.
3 Twins that deserve blame after 6-1 loss to Astros
There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Twins in Game 3, but a lot of fingers will be pointed at Alex Kirilloff. He's had a brutal postseason at the plate and in the field, something that reared its frustrating head on Tuesday afternoon.
Minnesota quickly fell into a 4-0 hole in the first inning, partially due to a bad play from Kirilloff. Yordan Alvarez hit a ball toward first that Kiriloff misplayed, turning what could have been a double play into a one-out double. Had he made that play, the inning would have ended and the Twins would have escaped with the game still scoreless.
Sonny Gray deserves blame for serving up the sweeper that Abreu tattooed but had Kirilloff not committed an error, a four-run lead might not have been on the board and the wind might not have been sucked out of the team's sail so early.
Kirilloff didn't help his case at the plate, either. The lefty went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and is now 0-for-7 in the postseason.