The Twins got another solid, barely legal-looking start from Scott Baker, but the bullpen, decimated by yesterday's fustercluck, had all of Alex Burnett to rely on to hold the lead. Throw in some shaky defense in the persons of Alexi Casilla and Drew Butera, and it allowed Kansas City to score two 8th-inning runs and hand the Twins a brutal 4-3 loss.
Baker continues to look like the Twins best starting pitcher, giving up just 2 ER in 6 and 1/3 IP. He benefitted from a very nice outfield assist from Jason Kubel, who gunned down Jeff Francouer at the plate in the 4th. Meanwhile, the Twins offense was still in "just barely enough" mode. Bruce Chen held them in check through the 5th, when Luke Hughes Australian metaphored a solo home run to stake the Twins to a 1-0 lead. After the Royals tied it in the bottom of the inning, the Twins came right back in the top of the 6th on a 2-run double by Danny Valencia. Of course, the Twins refused to extend this rally or any other time when they had runners in scoring position, because that would've hurt Kansas City's self-esteem or something.
Which brings us to the bottom of the 8th.
After Burnett did a nice job of getting the Twins out of the bottom of the 7th with a 3-2 lead, he allowed a 1-out double to Wilson Betimit. An error by Alexi Casilla later (scored an infield base hit for some reason), and KC had runners at the corners. A Jarrod Dyson steal attempt led to a wild Sweet Drew Butera throw that Casilla maybe should have knocked down, but the ball trickled into center and allowed the Royals to tie the game and advance Dyson to third. Alcides Escobar followed that up with a soft liner behind third. Casilla caught it, Dyson tagged, and Casilla threw off his back foot in the general direction of the ghost of Freddie Patek*, allowing Dyson to score easily.
Joakim Soria set the Twins down in order in the 9th. Did I mention that Casilla got the last out? And that I'd prefer Matt Tolbert at this point? Jesus, this is frustrating to watch.
Studs: Baker, Hughes, Valencia
Hung jury: Alex Burnett. Considering the situation he was thrust into, he did alright. Betimit's double was the only hard-hit ball in his 1 2/3 innings.
*May not be dead