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Twins swept in Los Angeles by Dodgers

The Twins have fared poorly against baseball’s best teams — they are now 1-10 against leaders of other divisions — and with two losses to the Dodgers, they have now fallen out of first place in the American League Central.

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman is out against Minnesota Twins second baseman Jorge Polanco after an attempt to steal second in the third inning Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, at Dodger Stadium.
Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — The good news for the Twins is that they won’t have to play the Dodgers, the team that outpitched, outhit and outexecuted against them for two nights, again this season unless they make it all the way to the World Series.

The bad news? A 1965 World Series rematch seems far-fetched at this point.

The Twins have fared poorly against baseball’s best teams — they are now 1-10 against leaders of other divisions — and with two losses to the Dodgers, they have now fallen out of first place in the American League Central.

Of course, there’s nearly two months in the season and a one-game deficit isn’t much to fret about, especially considering the Twins still have eight games against the Guardians, the team they are now trailing. A total of 29 of their 52 remaining games come against division foes, including 12 against Kansas City and Detroit, two of the worst teams in the league.

The Twins leave Los Angeles humbled after an 8-5 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium, with plenty of room for improvement while also trying not to place any more importance on two games against baseball’s best.

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“I don’t want to let the emotion of a series where we didn’t play as well as we needed to overwhelm us in any way,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I’m still very optimistic about what’s to come for our group. … I’m not going to focus too much on what just happened. We have too much going on right now and too much ahead of us.”

The Twins (57-53) took a one-run lead in the third inning when Jorge Polanco kept a three-run home run just fair in right field and turned it into a two-run advantage after Gary Sańchez hit his first home run in a month in the fifth inning. But the Dodgers (77-33) charged back in the bottom of that inning, knotting the score and knocking starter Sonny Gray out of the game.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Los Angeles Dodgers
Twins starting pitcher Cole Sands pitches in the eighth inning Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2022, against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers, now riding a 10-game winning streak, pulled ahead in the sixth inning when Chris Taylor hammered an 0-2 Michael Fulmer curveball out to left-center field. It was the first home run Fulmer had given up since May 12. An inning later, pinch-hitter Joey Gallo got ahold of a center-cut fastball from Griffin Jax and took it the opposite way, breaking open the game with the three-run blast.

“In order for you to best a team like that, you have to play pretty much perfect baseball, and we didn’t do that this series,” shortstop Carlos Correa said.

Not close.

Still, for how disastrous the series in Los Angeles went — they gave up 18 runs in two days while committing five errors — these games were, after all, just two games.

And while the Twins still have matchups against the American League’s best — they travel to both Houston and New York — likely the best team they’ll see all season is behind them. And they have plenty of beatable teams in front of them.

“If you win in division games, you win the division,” Correa said. “… I like where we’re at. Obviously this series didn’t go as planned but we’ve just got to move forward. We can’t get stuck on what happened this series.”

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