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Updated: August 7th, 2011 3:44pm
Twins Daily: Ron Gardenhire 'wondering what the hell is going on'

Twins Daily: Ron Gardenhire 'wondering what the hell is going on'

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Chicago White Sox teed off for four home runs against Brian Duensing and company Sunday, completing their first three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins in over five years.

The skinny

So much for the Twins' dominance over the White Sox.

Alex Rios, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Brent Lillibridge all blasted home runs for the Southsiders off Duensing and company Sunday, dropping the Twins (51-63) 12 games under .500 for the first time since June 28.

The White Sox had not swept the Twins in a three-game series since April of 2006. It also marked Chicago's first three-game sweep in Minneapolis since 2004.

"Well, we were pretty much dominated in this series," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"I think we had more errors in the series than we did runs scored, and probably walks. The whole package. A bad series for us here, and it's not going to get easier with the Red Sox coming into town, so we've got to try to figure something out."

Gardenhire's tally is correct. The Twins scored four runs over the three games while committing five errors.

On Sunday, every Sox hitter tallied at least one hit, and facing Chicago right-hander Jake Peavy, the Twins offense barely showed a pulse, scratching across only four hits. Peavy went eight innings, striking out six and walking nobody.

Peavy had previously allowed at least three earned runs in every start dating back to May 24.

"We did nothing," Gardenhire said. "As a manager, yes, I'm sitting here wondering what the hell's going on to tell you the truth. I saw a team out here that looked flat today. Peavey had a lot to do with that, and that bothers you. Whether they're beat-up from the road trip, tired, I don't know, but we've got no time to be tired.

"We're going deeper and deeper in a hole again. We've been there once and we're going right back to it, and it's very frustrating."

As for coming out flat, the players noticed it too.

"Today for sure," said Michael Cuddyer. "There really wasn't much going on as far as trying to build up morale, so to speak. Why? I don't know. I'm not sure."

Turning point

The fourth inning really acted as a microcosm of the way the Twins have been playing over the last few weeks.

Already trailing 1-0, Duensing gave up a monster solo home run to Konerko that landed in the left-field upper deck. Carlos Quentin followed with a double to right field, and Rios drove him in with a double of his own, putting the Sox up 3-0.

Two batters later, Gordon Beckham hit a bouncer right back to Duensing, who, after looking Rios back to second base, sailed his throw high and wide, pulling first baseman Michael Cuddyer off the bag.

Brent Morel eventually drove in the third run of the inning with an RBI groundout.

"It's frustrating," said Duensing, "because it's not like we're going out unprepared. We're going out and not executing. We're not throwing very well as pitchers, we're not really scoring any runs, and when both those are going badly it's hard to win ballgames. But it's frustrating. We fought so hard to get back close ... And now it's starting to slip a little bit."

Numbers game

8: Extra-base hits for the White Sox on Sunday.

1: The number of times the Twins have allowed fewer than four earned runs in a game over the last nine contests. "It's not fun to lose handedly," Cuddyer said. "They stuck it to us all three games. We didn't really even have much of a fight, so to speak. Especially today, today was kind of ugly."

6: Consecutive games in which an opponent has hit at least one home run against the Twins.

9: Hits allowed by Duensing, who allowed five runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings, striking four and walking one.

34-14: The Twins' hypothetical record over the final 48 games of the season if they want to finish 85-77. When the team pulled to within five games of .500 recently, Cuddyer said he thought it was "very likely" the team would complete the comeback. "I mean, we were playing well and we were playing as a team, and pulling for each other. So I thought it was very likely. And there's still 40-plus games left, so there's still time. It's just, we've got to do something about it."


"How do you say '(expletive)' in Japanese?"
-- Gardenhire, frustrated after the loss, asking team translator Ryo Shinkawa how to use the F-word in Japanese.

"You either do it or you don't do it in baseball. You either get it done or you don't get it done. It's not about being surprised. We know what's ahead of us, we know where we're at in the standings. It's not a surprise. We just haven't played worth a flip. You have to play good baseball, you have to catch the ball, you have to throw the ball over the plate and you have to get some hits. It's a pretty simple game when you put it down like that, and we haven't done any of that."
-- Gardenhire

Health report

• 1B Justin Morneau (neck surgery, wrist) is expected to return either in Detroit next weekend or when the Twins return home to Target Field shortly after, per Gardenhire.

• INF Alexi Casilla (pulled hamstring) was slated to do more "aggressive" running, Gardenhire said, and will likely be activated from the disabled list when eligible on August 12.

On deck

Monday's game against the Boston Red Sox (6:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) was moved up by an hour to accommodate ESPN's national telecast timeslot.

The ESPN mothership was probably hoping the Twins could have stuck around within striking distance in the AL Central a little longer.

The pitching match-up will feature right-hander Scott Baker (8-6, 3.01) and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (6-4, 4.99).

Baker was lifted after allowing four runs (three earned) only three innings in Anaheim last week, marking perhaps his worst start of the season. Prior to that, however, Baker had posted a 1.31 ERA over his previous seven starts, so a blip on the radar can be forgiven.

Coming up

• Tuesday: vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (7-9, 5.03) vs. RHP Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.55).
• Wednesday: vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (7-9, 4.58) vs. LHP Jon Lester (11-5, 3.23).
• Thursday: Off day

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd