Twins cap 1-4 road trip with loss to Angels
With 49 games left in the season, the Twins now trail the Guardians by 2 ½ games in the division and are tied with the White Sox.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Twins departed for their week in Southern California with a razor thin one-game lead in their division. But after a week in which they went 1-4 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, the Twins have been surpassed by the Cleveland Guardians in the division and caught by the Chicago White Sox.
The Twins will head home after a 4-2 loss to the Angels on Sunday, the second straight game in which they did not record a hit with runners in scoring position. With 49 games left in the season, the Twins now trail the Guardians by 2 ½ games in the division and are tied with the White Sox.
“It’s tough to walk out of here losing the series. We just didn’t do much offensively,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “ … We’ve got to score some runs and there’s different ways to do that. … We’re going to have to step that up if we plan on winning games.”
Sunday’s loss didn’t feature the dramatics of the night before. Instead, it was more of a sleepy loss, in which the Twins did not score a run after the first inning when Byron Buxton hit his 28th home run of the year out to right-center field, a two-run blast.
They followed up a day in which they went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position with one where they went just 0-for-4, finishing with only five hits on the day. Buxton and Carlos Correa had two apiece, while catcher Sandy León also doubled in the loss.
Buxton described some of the issue as hitters trying to do too much, internalizing too much pressure when things aren’t going right as a team. But breaking out of that is easier said than done — and it varies person to person. For Buxton, that’s being a little bit more aggressive, and he was pleased with the better swings he put on the ball Sunday.
“Everybody’s got a different way of getting back on track. Whatever that may be, we just don’t need to press and keep pounding ourselves in the dirt,” Buxton said. “There’s a lot of us that’s doing that quite a bit right now just because we’re not getting the job done and probably getting ourselves in a little bit more of a hole for our next at-bats. That ain’t who we were at the beginning of the season.”
And while things haven’t been going their way, a pair of veterans, Buxton and pitcher Chris Archer, who started the game, expressed confidence that things will turn around soon.
The Angels tagged starter Archer for three runs in his four-inning outing, knotting the game up in the third inning with a Luis Rengifo double that plated two and taking the lead for good an inning later on a Kurt Suzuki sacrifice fly.
“We know we’re a really good club, one of the top clubs in the league,” Archer said. “Every day the starting pitcher we have, we think can give us a chance to win the game. The lineup we put out there, regardless of the matchups, the platoons, whatever, we think we can win. … We just want to play our baseball.”
While Archer said he thought they were playing better on their most recent homestand before they left for their week in Southern California, the Twins didn’t see the type of consistency they needed against the Dodgers and Angels.
Or the type of consistency they will need to prove they are capable of moving forward if they are to accomplish their goals.
“We want to play consequential games. We want to go to the playoffs,” Baldelli said. “We want to do all these things, but it comes down to winning today. That’s really the only thing that we can control and that’s what we have to focus on.”
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