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Twins cap deflating 1-7 road trip with 4-1 loss to Royals

To put the Twins’ road woes in perspective, they’ve won just four games on the road since the beginning of August and are 30-45 this season away from Target Field.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals center fielder Drew Waters hits a home run in the fifth inning Thursday, Sept. 21, 2022, against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals won 4-1.
Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today Sports
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the Minnesota Twins left Minneapolis for their road trip late last Thursday night coming off a sweep of the Kansas City Royals, there was still a glimmer of hope that a postseason berth could be had with a strong showing in Cleveland and Kansas City.

The ensuing road trip, which concluded on Thursday with a 4-1 loss to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, wiped away all of that hope. The Twins finished the trip 1-7, stumbling to four losses in five games against Cleveland before getting swept by the fourth-place Royals.

To put the Twins’ road woes in perspective, they’ve won just four games on the road since the beginning of August and are 30-45 this season away from Target Field.

“To be frank about it, disappointing,” manager Rocco Baldelli said about the road trip as a whole. “Probably as low on the scale as you can imagine. I don’t know how it could be more challenging for the group. … The baserunners just aren’t there right now for us. The opportunities weren’t really there. In some of these games, they were there. Today was one of the ones where we didn’t have much going from the start.”

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Josh Winder reacts after giving up a home run to Kansas City Royals center fielder Drew Waters in Thursday's 4-1 loss at Kansas City.
Jay Biggerstaff / USA Today Sports

Thursday, the Twins fell behind in the third inning on back-to-back hits from Bobby Witt Jr. and Salvador Perez. Edward Olivares hit a solo home run to left in the next inning and Drew Waters followed with one of his own an inning later.

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While those were the only runs the Royals scored off rookie Josh Winder in his six innings of work, they turned out to be more than enough on a day where the Twins’ offense managed very little against starter Jonathan Heasley, who entered the day with a 5.09 earned-run average, and the Royals’ (61-89) bullpen.

“(I) just left too many pitches in the middle of the plate, a lot of hard contact,” Winder said. “Got away with a couple. Didn’t get away with some other ones. Just continue to work this week and work on hitting my spots a little better and keep balls out of the middle of the plate.”

The Twins collected just two hits — one apiece from Luis Arraez and Carlos Correa — in the loss and scored one run, which came in the sixth inning on a Nick Gordon sacrifice fly.

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The loss puts the Twins four games under .500 at 73-77, which is equal to the lowest they’ve been under .500 all season (last on April 20). It also dropped their elimination number to three, putting the Twins in a position to be out of the division race officially within the next couple days, a hard pill to swallow for a team that spent much of the season in first place.

“You have to continue to play the game the same way. And you have to continue to fight in the same ways,” Baldelli said. “ … But we’ve got to find a way to score some runs up and down the lineup. And we need to play good fundamental baseball. When things don’t go the way you want, you have to go back to the basics, in some ways and remind the guys that playing complete fundamental games is what’s going to win games right now for us.”

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