Well, that was… familiar. And a total vibe-killer.

The Twins lost 9-1 to Houston on Tuesday, in Game 3 of their playoff series, and all you can say is that it took about eight minutes for Minnesota to completely ruin all of the good vibes from Sunday’s win in Game 2.

Sonny Gray allowed the fewest home runs per inning of any starter in the majors this year - just eight homers, in 184 innings. So naturally, he gave up two on Tuesday, including a first-inning rocket from José Abreu that effectively killed the game before Minnesota had a chance to bat. It was 4-0 at that point, after the top of the first had started single, strikeout, error, single, homer.

Not that the Twins didn’t have plenty of chances to embarrass themselves at the plate, as per usual. In the bottom of the first, Jorge Polanco walked and Max Kepler doubled, to give the Twins runners on second and third with one out; they struck out twice. In the third, they had first and second with nobody out; they struck out, flew out, and lined out.

The fifth inning was perhaps the coup de grâce for the entire dang Twins season at the plate. Cristian Javier, the Astros starter, walked the bases full with one out, and so perhaps you might expect the following hitters to, you know, stand still for a bit.

Kepler struck out on three pitches. Royce Lewis struck out on four.

At this point, it was 5-0, and the Twins had had seven at-bats with runners in scoring position, four of them with less than two outs, and two of those with a runner on third. They were 0-7 with five strikeouts.

That’s like the entire first 110 games of this Twins season, in two sentences.

Ryan Jeffers hit into a double play with runners on first and second in the sixth, too, and that was pretty much the end of everything. Bailey Ober came in for a weird relief appearance in the eighth, just to save the bullpen for another day, and he couldn’t even do that, giving up three runs in an inning and a third, and needing to be rescued in the ninth.

Game 4 is tonight, and boy howdy, the good vibes are just totally gone from Sunday. The Astros are starting Jose Urquidy, who had a 5.29 ERA and struck out nobody this year; you can just feel the Twins striking out seven times in the first three innings, and letting the Astros bullpen walk all over them.

Here is the hope: we have been ready to count the Twins out approximately 50 times already this season. There were so many times this year when I wrote a blog just like this one, recapping some awful loss, and the headline was some version of “it’s over for this terrible team.” And every time they came back and ripped off some random winning streak.

So if the Twins go 10-for-11 with runners in scoring position tonight, I guess it’ll only be in keeping with the rest of this strange, frustrating year.

And the other thing I need to remember is that I said before the playoffs that, as long as they just won one dang game and ended their horrible 19-year run of futility, I’d be fine with whatever happened. And I guess that has to include getting smashed by the Astros twice at home in the division series.


TWINS vs Houston, Game 4, 6:07pm, FS1




WILD vs Florida, season opener, 7pm, BSN


GOPHERS MEN’S HOCKEY vs. St. Thomas, 7:30pm/6pm, both games on FOX9+
GOPHERS WOMEN’S HOCKEY at St. Thomas, 4pm/4pm, Friday on FOX9+
(note: Friday doubleheader at Xcel Energy Center)


WILD at Toronto, 6pm Saturday, BSN (and on Hockey Night in Canada)
TIMBERWOLVES at New York, preseason, 6:30 Saturday, NBATV


VIKINGS at Chicago, noon Sunday, FOX
GOPHERS VOLLEYBALL vs Northwestern, 12:30pm