Twins upbeat despite another 0-3 start

Loss to O's makes it three times in five years

Twins upbeat despite another 0-3 start

BALTIMORE -- It's starting to become a disturbing trend for the Twins, who have been getting off to slow starts in recent years and fell victim to a three-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles after a 4-2 loss on Thursday.

The Twins were swept to open the season for the third time in five years, and haven't won an opening series since 2010, which was the last time they made the postseason. Minnesota went 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position, including 1-for-9 on Thursday, while striking out 35 times in 27 innings.

"We scored six runs, and the strikeouts were significant," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think it's one of those things that builds early. You talk about the magnification of things early in the season. You see guys grinding in there almost too hard, even though it's the third game."

It's a similar start to last year, when the Twins opened with a 1-6 record, only to bounce back and finish with 83 wins. The difference from last season is they were outscored, 22-1, by the Tigers in their opening series, while this time they were competitive and outscored by five runs.

"We feel like each of these games could've gone our way," said right-hander Phil Hughes. "Just not being able to get a hit here or a pitch there. We're 0-3 and it looks ugly, but I forget what we got outscored [by] last year in our first series, and I know this is not that bad. The outcome hasn't been what we're looking for, but a lot of guys went through this last year and we're not going to panic. We have the talent in here to win a lot of games."

Hughes was the hard-luck loser on Thursday, exiting with a one-run lead in the seventh, but a rain delay forced reliever Trevor May to come in after warming up twice. May uncorked a wild pitch to the backstop on his second pitch to tie the game, and ended up allowing the go-ahead RBI single to Jonathan Schoop.

May took the blame for slipping on the rubber on the wild pitch, but like Hughes, he said the Twins are confident they'll bounce back.

"All of these games were hard-fought until the end and could've easily been 3-0 us," May said. "We're seeing a lot of good things. It just takes a couple guys getting hot. We'll forget about it and I see that happening starting with tomorrow."

But it doesn't get any easier for the Twins, who head to Kansas City for a three-game series against the defending World Series champions starting Friday.

"We just have to turn the page and focus on the team coming up," Hughes said. "It's a really good team that won the World Series last year, so it gives us extra motivation to go out there and play really well."

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.