Twins nearing new low; Team could finish with worst record since move to Minnesota

Published 10:14 am Monday, September 19, 2016

NEW YORK — Brian Dozier had just struck out on three pitches against Jerry Blevins, ending the 95th defeat in a Twins season that could become the franchise’s worst since it arrived in Minnesota more than six decades ago.

“Losses approaching a hundred,” Dozier said. “That’s not good.”

Gabriel Ynoa struck out eight over 4 2/3 innings in his first major league start, Blevins got a four-out save and the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 victory Sunday.

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A big league-worst 55-95, Minnesota was swept in a series for the 14th time this season and has lost seven straight games against the Mets. The franchise’s poorest record since moving to Minnesota for the 1961 season was 60-102 in 1982. This year’s losses could be the most for the team since the 1949 Washington Senators went 50-104.

“We’re just trying to play the best we can as hard as we can until the last out is made in a couple of weeks,” manager Paul Molitor said. “We’re a little bit beat up. We’re having to run some people out there. We don’t have the great depth that we maybe like to have in September, but that’s just kind of where we are.”

Michael Conforto drove in two runs with a first-inning, opposite-field single to left off Kyle Gibson (6-10), and rookie T.J. Rivera added a solo home run in the third. Gibson gave up three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.

“It was frustrating to put our team in that kind of hole there in the first inning against a contending team,” Gibson said.

All the losses have left the Twins battling to keep a positive approach.

“I think there’s been times when we’ve gotten pretty down on ourselves and allowed it to affect us,” Gibson said. “I think that’s when you see the 10- and 12-game losing stretches, and there were 15 games where we were not playing too well.”

Ynoa breezed through the Twins, except in the second. Minnesota loaded the bases with one out, John Ryan Murphy hit a sacrifice fly and Gibson grounded out.

Mets manager Terry Collins replaced Ynoa with Josh Edgin after Dozier singled with two outs in the fifth, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 22 games. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs before Erik Goeddel (2-1) struck out Kennys Vargas.

Vargas homered in the eighth against Fernando Salas, a drive off the Wise billboard above the bullpens, and Blevins retired pinch-hitter Eduardo Escobar on a popup to strand Robbie Grossman at third in the eighth.

Blevins struck out Murphy starting the ninth, then got pinch-hitter Joe Mauer to pop out. After a mound visit by pitching coach Dan Warthen, Blevins threw a pair of called strikes to Dozier and got him to swing over a curveball in the dirt.

Grossman tied his career high for hits with four singles, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think at the end of the day, you look up and we’re the worst team in baseball,” Dozier said.