SEATTLE — Another lousy night for the sufferin’ shutouts, the four teams who entered Tuesday having been blanked an MLB-high eight times already.
The Tigers managed to eke out a first-inning a run thanks to a pickoff throw gone awry, but then dutifully went silent for the next eight innings. The Royals somehow outhit the Giants, but extended their scoreless skid to 13 straight innings before finally scoring a pair. And the Diamondbacks didn’t allow a run over nine innings to the Reds —but couldn’t get a single one of their own across the plate until the 10th.
Sad stories, but understandable; Arizona ranks next-to-last in the National League in scoring, while Kansas City and Detroit are two of the bottom three in the AL.
But the fourth team? They defy explanation — and did so again on Tuesday. The Minnesota Twins, third-highest scoring team in the American League behind offensive powerhouses New York and Boston, became the only MLB team to put up nothing but zeroes nine times this season, and fell to the Seattle Mariners, 5-0 at T-Mobile Park.
“Nine shutouts? Wow. I didn’t know that,” said Carlos Correa, who collected two of the Twins’ four hits — all of them singles. “Yeah, that is weird. I never would have thought that. I feel like we’ve been raking.”
They do, quite often, which makes their once-a-week blackout schedule all the more bizarre. On Tuesday, Correa and Gilberto Celestine singled twice apiece against second-year Seattle righthander Logan Gilbert, but their teammates went 0-for-23 and only three times advanced a baserunner beyond first base.
“I thought we barreled a lot of balls up, we had a lot of good at-bats. It amounted to literally nothing, and that’s going to happen sometimes,” shrugged Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “We want to score runs. We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve done that a good amount. Today wasn’t one of those days. Like I said, some barrels were had. But I don’t see any added reason to fret about what went on today.”
Probably not, though the frustratingly frequent failure spoiled Joe Ryan’s return after a 23-day absence on the COVID list. The righthander didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, and arguably made only two serious mistakes — but both of them landed far beyond the left-field wall, worth two runs apiece.
In the fourth inning, after surrendering Seattle’s first hit, a double into the left-field corner by Julio Rodriguez, Ryan left an 89-mph fastball belt-high on the inside corner, and Eugenio Suarez pounded it into Edgar’s Restaurant in left field. The second one did the damage, but it was the first one that bugged Ryan.
“The double’s really the missed pitch in that sequence there,” Ryan said. “Back up a slider there in a kill-count, that’s pretty frustrating.”
An inning later, with Dylan Moore standing on second base, Ryan started Mariners first baseman Ty France with a low-and-in slider, and it landed in the Twins’ bullpen, all but clinching Ryan’s first career road loss after starting his career with five straight road wins. “Backup sliders,” Ryan fumed, adding an expletive for emphasis.
Still, just having Ryan back and relatively healthy again was uplifting for the Twins, who also get veteran righthander Sonny Gray back from the injured list on Wednesday afternoon.
“I felt really strong for the first three [innings]. Got on the [stationary] bike for another hour after, just trying to build that aerobic capacity again,” said Ryan, who had allowed only three home runs all season, never more than one per game. “Definitely frustrating not to have that endurance that I had before this, but we’ve been working on it and we’ll keep building on it.”
The Mariners added a run on Sam Haggerty’s seventh-inning double of Jovani Moran, but it wasn’t necessary, not with the Twins stuck in neutral once more. Erik Swanson and Diego Castillo combined to pitch three hitless innings, and the Twins fell to 6-7 in June.