Not pitching in: Twins hurlers fail to help club in blowout loss
JUN 08, 2014 7:12p ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins signed veteran Kendrys Morales on Sunday with the hope that he can inject some life into their offense. Yet on the same day that Morales was inked to a one-year deal, the Twins' offense wasn't the problem against the visiting Astros.
The pitching was.
Minnesota's pitchers gave up a season-high 14 runs as Houston won the series finale by a 14-5 final. That included four home runs -- and a pair of grand slams -- by the Astros, who took two of three in this series thanks to Sunday's lopsided victory.
"Not a good day pitching today," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team fell to 29-32 after losing the series. "They whacked the ball all over the place."
The Twins' starting pitching had been steadily improving lately, but Samuel Deduno couldn't even get through the fourth inning Sunday for Minnesota. The erratic right-hander walked four batters and hit two more while surrendering five runs on just three hits. One of those hits was Houston's first home run of the game when center fielder Dexter Fowler sent a solo shot to right for a 2-0 Astros lead.
Deduno fell apart in the fourth inning after playing with fire through the first three innings. He walked two batters and hit another before getting the gate. Following his walk of Carlos Corporan, Deduno exited with the bases loaded and nobody out. He gave way to reliever Anthony Swarzak.
"That was a little bit weird," Deduno said of the fourth inning. "I'm trying to throw strikes. . . . I think I'm trying too hard sometimes. I'm thinking to throw a strike. Maybe that's affecting me a little bit."
All three of those runs came around to score later in the fourth inning, leaving Deduno with five earned runs on the day as his ERA jumped from 3.83 at the start of the game to 4.45 by the time the fourth inning was over.
It wasn't just the starting pitching that faltered on Sunday. Minnesota's bullpen was responsible for nine more runs -- five of which were earned -- as the Astros pulled away from the Twins. In the seventh inning, left-hander Brian Duensing gave up the first of Houston's two grand slams when designated hitter Chris Carter planted his first career grand slam in the right-field seats. That broke the game open after Minnesota scored two in the fifth to cut it to a 5-3 game. Carter's 10th homer of the year pushed the Astros' lead to a comfortable 9-3 margin.
Houston rookie George Springer hit the Astros' third home run of the day in the eighth inning when he took Casey Fien deep to straightaway center for a solo shot, his 12th of the year. Then, in the top of the ninth, Houston's young bats struck again.
Jon Singleton, playing in just his sixth career game in the big leagues, took advantage of a Twins error earlier in the inning to hit Houston's second grand slam of the afternoon. He went deep off Minnesota closer Glen Perkins to secure the 14-5 win for the Astros, although the runs given up by Perkins were unearned after an error on second baseman Brian Dozier.
It was just the third time in team history that the Twins gave up two grand slams in one game. For most of Minnesota's pitchers, this weekend was the first time seeing many of these Astros batters. They found out the hard way that Houston can hit.
"That's not a bad team over there," Perkins said of the Astros, who entered the weekend with a 26-35 record. "They've been playing well for a while now. They got us today. I think they swing hard in case they hit it, and they hit them today."
In total, the Twins' pitching staff allowed 14 runs on 13 hits while walking eight and hitting three more. As Minnesota continues to hover near the .500 mark, the Twins have yet to put a run together to get over that hump.
It was the pitching that prevented Minnesota from inching closer to .500 on Sunday. As the Twins now embark on a tough nine-game road trip against Toronto, Detroit and Boston, Gardenhire's pitchers will need to put Sunday's rough outing in the past.
"We've got to get away from that trend," Gardenhire said. "A tough trip all the way around. . . . It's not an easy trip. We'll start out with those guys up there in Toronto and see what happens. Hopefully we'll play a little better baseball and pitch a little better."
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