The Minnesota Twins appear to have no answers for how to end one of the longest losing streaks in club history.
Mired in their longest skid in 29 years, the Twins look to avoid a 12th consecutive defeat when they conclude their three-game set with the visiting Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
For the third time in four games Minnesota (59-95) suffered a one-run loss with a second straight 5-4 defeat to Seattle on Wednesday. The Twins’ 11-game skid is the longest since they dropped 14 in a row May 19-June 2, 1982.
“At this point in this clubhouse, it’s like we’re watching the fate of (mythical king) Sisyphus (pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down) himself,” losing pitcher Kevin Slowey(notes) said. “Get to the top of that hill and just can’t seem to figure it out, so it’s been pretty tough.”
With stars Joe Mauer(notes) and Justin Morneau(notes) shut down due to injuries, the Twins are relying on a group of prospects to help the franchise avoid surpassing the worst finish - 60-102 in 1982 - since it moved to Minnesota in 1961.
Rookies Chris Parmelee(notes), Trevor Plouffe(notes) and veteran Michael Cuddyer(notes) each had three hits Wednesday, but the Twins went 4 for 18 with runners in scoring position. Parmelee has hit .413 (19 for 49) with two homers and nine RBIs in 13 games since making his major league debut Sept. 6.
“I’d much rather win than get three or four hits,” Parmelee said.
Minnesota might not have an easy time breaking out offensively against Seattle’s Blake Beavan(notes) (5-5, 3.92 ERA), who looks for a third straight winning start. The rookie right-hander rode the effectiveness of a new curveball and allowed four hits without a walk in eight innings of a 4-0 win over Texas on Friday in his 13th career start.
“It’s a new pitch for me and it’s getting better every start and every bullpen,” Beavan said. “I think (Friday) just showed me that working hard on it and throwing it more is only going to get it better.”
Ichiro Suzuki(notes) ended Slowey’s no-hit bid in the sixth inning and finished with two hits and an RBI as the Mariners (66-89) won their third straight Wednesday. Seattle has not swept a series in Minnesota since a four-game set at the Metrodome from May 29-June 1, 2003.
Though Suzuki is batting a career-low .274, he’s hit .364 (8 for 22) with four RBIs in his last five contests.
The Mariners will face Minnesota’s Anthony Swarzak(notes) (3-7, 4.52) for the first time as a starter. Swarzak, who has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen, allowed seven runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 10-4 loss to Cleveland on Friday.
“I’ve got to start making adjustments,” said Swarzak, 0-4 with a 6.92 ERA in five starts since winning at Chicago on July 10. “It’s something I’m going to have to learn throughout my career.”
The right-hander took the loss in relief after he allowed a run in two-thirds of an inning in an 8-7, 10-inning defeat to Seattle on May 23.