Found June 21, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
A week and a half ago, the Minnesota Twins were winners of four straight series, seemingly gaining some traction after being stuck in reverse for most of the season. During their brief run of success, the Twins climbed back to within 10 games of .500 by improving to 24-34. Everything was working starting pitching, hitting and defense if only for a short time.Now, after Thursday's 9-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota has lost three series in a row and has fallen to an American League-worst 27-41 on the season. Prior to losing the series in Pittsburgh, the Twins lost two of three at home to both the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.The Twins won Wednesday's game at PNC Park on a Josh Willingham homer to tie the series at 1-1. But Minnesota fell behind early in Thursday's finale and never recovered as it lost yet another series.In the last nine games, the Twins have averaged 3.89 runs per game, inflated by an 11-run outburst in the series opener against Philadelphia. During its run of four straight series wins, Minnesota was averaging 5.08 runs per game.Over the past three series, Minnesota has scored two runs or fewer five times in nine games, including Thursday's one-run effort thanks to a complete game by Pittsburgh's James McDonald. The Twins picked up six hits off McDonald but could only scratch across one run, bringing their total number of runs in the three-game series to five."You get behind like that, McDonald was throwing the heck out of the ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Good fastball, good breaking ball. He kept us off balance. When we get deep in a hole behind a guy like that who's throwing that well, it makes it really tough."Pitching, especially the rotation, has again reappeared as a weakness for the Twins over the last week and a half. Minnesota's pitchers are giving up an average of six runs a game in the last nine games, a number that was surpassed Thursday. Starter Liam Hendriks gave up six runs (three earned), while reliever Jeff Manship surrendered three more runs on a pair of home runs.Hendriks is still searching for his first major league win after Thursday's rough outing. He fell to 0-4 with a 7.39 ERA in six starts this year after going 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in four starts late last season. He's given up at least one home run in each of his six starts this year, including one Thursday to Pittsburgh's Rod Barajas in the sixth inning."Liam just couldn't get the ball where he wanted to," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I know we missed a ball behind him, but there was rockets flying everywhere. The ball was being hit really hard. You add onto it an error and then it just puts more pressure on you and you really have no chance in that ball game after a certain amount of runs get scored because the guy on the other side is dominating you. A tough night for us."Things won't get any easier for Minnesota as it looks to snap its streak of three straight series losses. The Twins head to Cincinnati for a three-game series this weekend against the first-place Reds. Even though Cincinnati has lost three straight, the Reds still have a run differential of 31. By comparison, the Twins' run differential is an MLB-worst -86 after Thursday's 9-1 loss.After a trip to Cincinnati, the Twins will host a few division foes, the White Sox and Royals. But after falling farther out of the AL Central race after dropping three straight series, Minnesota can't afford to make it four in a row.Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.

Twins hold truly 'open' annual tryouts

MINNEAPOLIS The annual open tryout put on by the Minnesota Twins usually draws anywhere from 100 to 300 prospective baseball players. This year's tryout, however, yielded just around 50 players.Still, despite the drop in numbers in 2012, Twins minor league director Jim Rantz and his staff saw players from all walks of life and from all over the country make the trip to Minnesota...

Twins' Liriano appears to be returning to form

In Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano's first 10 starts of the year, he failed to pitch into the seventh inning all 10 times. That streak ended Wednesday, as Liriano went 6 23 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing just one run in Minnesota's 2-1 win at PNC Park.While his start snapped a streak of consecutive starts of six innings or less, Wednesday's outing...

Revere's big night propels Twins past Reds

Twins right fielder Ben Revere left Pittsburgh without a hit, going 0-for-12 with just one walk in the three-game series against the Pirates. Dating back to the team's final game against Milwaukee, Revere was 0-for his last 15 prior to Friday.He snapped out of that funk quickly Friday in Cincinnati. Revere went 4-for-4 to help spark Minnesota to a series-opening 5-4 win over...

Willingham likely to be Twins only All-Star

Last season, outfielder Michael Cuddyer was the lone All-Star on the 99-loss Minnesota Twins. These days, every team has to have at least one representative at the mid-summer classic, and Cuddyer was the obvious choice for the Twins. One year later, it's likely that the guy Minnesota signed to replace Cuddyer will be heading to Kansas City for the 2012 All-Star Game. Twins...

The Return of Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano is back. After a month-long banishment to the bullpen, Liriano has returned to the rotation looking like a completely different pitcher. In his six starts prior to his demotion, Liriano was broken. The lefty allowed 37 hits in just 26.2 innings, and racked up a 9.45 ERA. While his stint in the bullpen only lasted five outings, it seemed to be exactly what he needed...

Liriano's confidence is returning

Francisco Liriano's renaissance has probably come too late to make the Minnesota Twins contenders again, but they'll take anything they can get. If he can lead a resurgence of what has been a lousy rotation, maybe he can raise his value for a non-waiver deadline deal. In any case, it's all good news. Liriano didn't get a decision Wednesday but was mostly brilliant...

Plouffe leads fantasy waiver adds

After last week's Transaction Trends hiatus, we're back and better than ever. With 11 weeks in the books, here are 10 of the most added fantasy baseball players. Fun Fact: 14 of the 20 most-added fantasy players over the last week were starting pitchers Note: the following "changes" are week-over-week percentages. Trevor Plouffe Change: +10.4 (54.9 percent...

Light-hitting writer takes his shot at majors

MINNEAPOLIS I don't know what it was that initially compelled me to try out for the Minnesota Twins.Maybe it was the sheer novelty of it, a baseball writer crossing the foul line and stepping on to the field instead of watching from the press box. The journalist in me figured it would make for an interesting story.But as I ran around the outfield and stepped into the batter...

Twins 5, Reds 4

Ryan Doumit and Ben Revere each had four hits Friday night, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 5-4 victory that gave the Cincinnati Reds their season-high fourth straight loss. Doumit hit a solo shot off Homer Bailey (5-5), who angrily left the field after failing to get through the sixth inning. Revere broke an 0-for-15 slump with four singles. Chris Heisey and Scott Rolen had two...

J-Mac goes the distance in 9-1 trouncing of Twins

Final: Pirates 9, Twins 1 WP: James McDonald (6-3, 2.19 ERA) LP: Liam Hendriks (0-4, 7.39 ERA) This game really could not have gone any better. Going into this one, you had to like the Pirates’ chances as you had our ace going up against someone named Liam Hendriks. Hendriks hails from Australia, but his ERA is anything but “down under.” (Terrible attempt at a joke, I know…let’s...

Offense stalls in 2-1 loss to Twins

Final: Twins 2, Pirates 1 WP: Jared Burton (1-0, 3.21 ERA) LP: Jason Grilli (1-2, 2.03 ERA) SV: Glen Perkins (1, 3.03 ERA) I don’t really want to get too much into this recap. It was a pretty poor game overall. When the Pirates did get someone on base, they either tried bunting (which didn’t work), or didn’t get anything going. Erik Bedard had it going on tonight giving up...

Game 67: Twins 2 Pirates 1

Before the game, I said that to have success against Francisco Liriano, the Pirates would need to draw some walks. Through five innings, the Pirates drew no walks. In the sixth, Liriano unintentionally/intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen. In the seventh, Mike McKenry drew a walk. That was it. As it turned out, that was very nearly enough for the Pirates to pull out a win. McKenry...

Barajas’ sac fly not enough

Tonight was Francisco Liriano’s turn to have a good start for a change.  Unfortunately, Liriano is not a Pirate, and his 6 strikeouts, 4 hits, and 1 run were not what the Pirates needed tonight.  Liriano never allowed more than one hit in an inning. The only big inning for the Pirates was the 7th, [...]

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Minnesota Twins – Game 68

There really is nothing quite like watching your favorite team make a struggling pitcher look like Cy Young.  At least in last night’s case Liriano has been good in his Major League career.  You can see a recap of the game here. Today’s opponent has never really had the distinction of being a successful Major [...]
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.