The Twins fell short of completing the 3-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim after they lost 2-1 at home Wednesday night. The loss dropped them to third place in the American League Central. The Twins are now a game behind the Kansas City Royals, while the Royals are a half-game behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Twins and Angels each had seven hits in the game, but it was the Royals who scored two runs to win it. Ervin Santana gave up a first-inning home run, then settled down to go the distance. He scattered seven hits, allowing two runs, both earned, with two walks and five strikeouts. Although he fell to 10-6 on the season, his ERA also fell to 2.99.
This home stand remains key for the club. They need all the wins they can get before the All-Star break because once the vacation is over the second half of the season gets serious in a hurry. The Twins start the second half with games at Houston — the best team in baseball — followed by a return trip home to play slugger Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees and the always-tough Detroit Tigers. Then it’s back on the road to play the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. Maybe the Twins will get lucky and won’t face ace Clayton Kershaw.
Up next the Baltimore Orioles come to town for a four-game set. Jose Berrios gets the ball on Thursday. A four-game sweep is exactly what the Twins need.
-Pitcher Hector Santiago is headed back to the disabled list after his last start, which he lost and fell to 4-8. It’s hard not to view this move as one of convenience for a struggling pitcher, especially after some apparent friction emerged between manager Paul Molitor and his pitcher.
Santiago was pulled out of the game by Molitor after 58 pitches in that loss to the Royals, while Santiago questioned the manager’s use of a defensive shift that allowed a hit to become a double, according to the Strib.
Molitor shocked Santiago by removing him only two batters into the fourth inning, after a walk and a fly ball. Molitor was blunt about the reason: He thought he had pitchers who would give the Twins a better chance to win.
It didn’t work. Phil Hughes gave up two runs in relief, and the Twins offense amounted to eight scattered hits, all singles. That left the Twins to go home in a sour mood and for Molitor to ponder Santiago’s future.
“We’re going to have to figure out the best way to go forward,” he said of Santiago, whose ERA is 9.96 since May 14. “We’ve got a lot of evaluating to do this week.”