Following an incredible start to the season, it appears the Minnesota Twins have fallen on tough times.
Minnesota split its series in the Bronx over the weekend, winning the first two games against the Yankees before losing the last two. That losing streak continued on Tuesday night in Boston, with the Twins blowing two leads — one in the eighth inning and the other in the 10th inning — to drop a third straight game.
It marks the longest losing streak of the season so far, and comes as a gut punch to the way things started.
What makes the loss frustrating is the team wasted another great start by Sonny Gray. He pitched five innings and only gave up one run while striking out seven Red Sox batters. Unfortunately, the Twins anemic offense helped give Chris Sale a much-needed bounce-back start, as he fanned 11 hitters and also only allowed a single run.
It was the bullpens that created the drama late, with Jovani Moran blowing a save opportunity in the bottom of the tenth inning. The loss isn’t solely on Moran, as the Twins played a sloppy game that included a boneheaded goof by Donovan Solano that occurred on one of the more bizarre sequences of the season so far.
Rocco Badelli was brutally honest about walk-off loss to Red Sox
After the game, Rocco Baldelli got brutally honest and called out the many little things that added up to a big embarrassing loss for the Twins.
“We get a strikeout, the ball gets away, and the guy gets to first base. We have one of the best defensive catchers in the league behind the plate, so it’s not like this is an issue for us but it happened tonight,” Baldelli said. “If we just make a play, we block the ball, we do a few things we need to do we’re probably in a better spot.”
The way the game ended wasn’t the only weird thing that happened. Back in the eighth inning, Red Sox catcher Reese McGuire reached first base on what appeared to be a catcher interference ruling. Kiké Hernandez was on first and was allowed to advance all the way to third because Donovan Solano failed to complete the play and record the out.
Because Solano didn’t record the out, the Red Sox declined to enforce the interference violation since doing so would have meant Hernandez couldn’t have advanced any further than second base. The goof by Solano — and Christian Vazquez for sticking his glove out too far from behind the plate to begin with — set up a situation where Jarred Duran hit a sacrafice grounder that scored Hernandez and tied the game.
It was bizarre, but Rocco was quick point out that none of it might have happened if the play had been completed.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen that in my life,” Rocco said of the Red Sox declining the interference call. “But we’ve gotta make sure [Hernandez] doesn’t make it to third base. We have to be aware of that and make sure that we understand not just the rule but what to do.”
“You always have to finish the play,” Baldelli said of Solano’s goof. “I’ve been in the game twenty-something years and I’ve never seen [a declined interference call] actually happen. There’s a lot of little things like that in our game that you have to be aware of.”
To be fair, Baldelli made sure to note that the Solano error wasn’t the main reason the Twins lost nor did he blame one single moment for what happened. Rather he essentially blamed death by a million cuts with all of the small things eventually adding up to putting Minnesota in the bad spot it was in the 10th inning.
“I’m not going to point the finger at any one particular thing,” he said.