I stopped watching this one pretty quickly. That rarely happens. Most of the time I'll sit through a solid drubbing - maybe because I'm a glutton for punishment or maybe because I'm convinced there's still some good baseball to watch and learn from even when things aren't going well for the Twins. In any case, that wasn't the case on Sunday afternoon in Oakland.
Things started off innocuously enough. Tommy Milone retired the A's in order in the first, and then struck out the first two batters he saw in the second. Then things went to hell. Danny Santana threw the ball away and somebody called Josh Phegley hit a two-run homer. It was Phegley's sixth, apparently. But Milone recovered and struck out Josh Reddick.
Through two innings, Milone had struck out four. Even though he paid for Santana's mistake, there was no way of knowing that the game would be blown wide open the very next frame. Billy Butler hit a two-run shot with two away, and Jake Smolinski made it back-to-back jacks by smacking his second homer of the year. That was it for Milone: 2.2 innings, three home runs allowed, five runs. Yikes.
J.R. Graham relieved Milone and was still pitching in the fifth when Reddick hit a grand slam to make it 11-0. Clearly Neil Allen's mound visit didn't do a whole lot of good. Smolinski hit his third home of the season, his second of the game, with a three-run bomb in the eighth. 14-0. This time it came off of Trevor May.
Trevor Plouffe doubled in the ninth and scored on a Shane Robinson triple, but that was all that the Twins could muster. It was a pathetic showing in the most charitable sense of the word. Tough games to get through, but no matter how good a team is there will always be two or three games a year that just get totally out of hand. Sunday was one of those games for Minnesota.
An inferior Oakland squad took two of three from the Minnesota contenders to kick off the second half. At 50-42, the Twins are still safely in second place in the AL Central and still lead the Wild Card race, but they're still six games back of the Royals. Kansas City's 8-2 over their last ten outshines Minnesota's 7-3.
The Twins are off today before heading to the Angels for a three-game mid-week set. We'll see you back here in a bit for better and more interesting things to read about than an ass kicking gone the wrong way.