Offense still trying to find groove after break

Twins' lineup notches 9 hits, but struggles with RISP continue

Offense still trying to find groove after break

ANAHEIM -- After getting just two hits in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to the Angels, the Twins at least showed some signs of life offensively on Wednesday with nine hits and five walks to get 14 runners on base.

But this time it was a lack of success with runners in scoring position that did them in, as the Twins went 1-for-9 in those situations to strand 12 runners in a 5-2 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium. It handed the Twins their fourth straight defeat, and they've scored a combined five runs over that span.

They were able to knock Angels right-hander C.J. Wilson from the game after five innings, but couldn't score against the bullpen, as the offensive frustrations continued to mount for Minnesota. Brian Dozier had the lone hit with runners in scoring position with a two-run single in the third that gave the Twins a short-lived lead as the Angels retook the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the third.

"We had baserunners throughout but we had just the one hit with runners in scoring position with Dozier bringing home a couple," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The at-bats were a little bit better overall. We had Wilson at 100 pitches through five and got to the bullpen. But we just couldn't find a way back in."

It was hard to fault right-hander Mike Pelfrey for the loss, as he didn't have his best stuff and was coming off a bout with food poisoning on Tuesday, but was able to go six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk. Defensive issues popped up for the Twins again, as shortstop Danny Santana made an error trying to flip the ball to second base, which led to two unearned runs scoring.

But Pelfrey, who hasn't picked up a win since June 7 to mark a span of seven straight winless starts, said he's not worried about Minnesota's struggles since coming out of the All-Star break.

"I don't think there's any panic," Pelfrey said. "To start the year off, we had a little struggle, but you're crazy to think that's the only time you're gonna struggle the whole year. There's going to be times like this. The one thing this team has always done is we've always been able to handle adversity and bounce back. We're in a little bit of a rut but we'll get out of it and come back a better team."

With the loss, the Twins dropped to 50-44, but they still are three games up in the American League Wild Card race. But Molitor said it's still way too early to talk about the standings at this point in the season.

"I think someone asked before the game about being three games ahead in the Wild Card and I wasn't even aware of that," Molitor said. "There's too many games. You just have to keep finding ways to keep playing. You can start worrying about those types of things hopefully later on."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.