Weather: 73 degrees, partly cloudy
Wind: 17 mph, right to left
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer and the sunshine will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their team. The Royals are not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as winning should not be highly rated.
Okay, so I took a little liberty with the words of Thomas Paine. And I'm not sure you can call this a crisis just yet. It probably is too early to panic. The sky probably isn't falling. Being eight games under .500 is worrisome in August, sure, but not so much to spark heartburn about at the end of April. Did I mention that it's probably too early to panic?
T.S. Baker took the mound for Minnesota tonight and gave a serviceable performance, scattering eight hits and a walk over six and a third innings and giving up just two runs. But this is the way Scott Baker's night ends, first with a bang then a whimper.
The game stood scoreless through four innings in what was a fair approximation of a good old-fashioned pitcher's duel, scoreless that is until Luke Hughes stepped in for the Twins in the fifth and drove a solo tater to left center field.
Baker, who seemed to be cruising, hit a bump in the road in the bottom half of the fifth. With two outs, he gave up a single to Melky Cabrera, then offered up a belt high heater that bisected the plate, which Alex Gordon knocked into the right field corner for a triple.
The Twins added two runs in the sixth after the Dude and the Mountie stroked back-to-back opposite field singles. Both scored on Danny Valencia's 3-0 green light double that found the left center gap and rolled to the wall. Baker retired the Royals in order in the bottom of the sixth. Things were looking good for the Twins, but Fortune is a cruel mistress.
In the seventh, Baker blinked, just for a moment, but that was all it took. Fortune grabbed him by the sack. Pena doubled, Getz drove him in with a single, and that was the end of Baker's night. Burnett came on in relief and got the last two outs, stranding the runner.
Of course, things were going far too well. The Twins failed to score in the eighth, but they had a lead late in the game. That's when Scott Baker, watching from the bench, felt the fickle fingers of Fortune squeeze hard. After striking out Francoeur, Burnett gave up a double to Wilson Betemit. And then... Boom went the dynamite.
On what seemed to be a fairly routine ground ball to short from Kila Ka'aihue, Casilla's view of the ball was screened by Betemit. He made a stab for the ball, but it ticked off his glove and dribbled away, sending Betemit to third and giving the Royals an extra out. They decided not to waste it.
With Brayan Pena batting and Jarrod Dyson running for Ka'aihue, Dyson took off for second. Butera's throw was off target, and Casilla couldn't get it in his glove as Dyson slid in. The ball rolled into shallow right field, and Betemit scored with Dyson taking third. One batter later, Alcides Escobar's sacrifice fly scored Dysone, giving the Royals their first lead of the game. They decided not to waste that, too.
Joakim Soria came on to close it out for the Royals. After taking a pretty substantial ass kicking at the hands of the Rays in Minneapolis this week, the Twins drop the opener in KC with a reasonable facsimile of a heartbreaker. Because really, did you think they weren't going to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory tonight?
But hey, as bad as things are for Twins fans right now, it actually could be worse. We could be rooting for the Palehose.