MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Twins have been saying all year long that they will make their run as soon as they get healthy.
That day may not be coming in 2011. Scott Baker could be headed back to the disabled list again with elbow discomfort, continuing the Twins' season-long difficulties with injuries.
Baker gave up five runs and nine hits with five strikeouts in six innings of an 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, the fifth straight for the free-falling Twins.
The right-hander has been bothered by elbow discomfort since before the All-Star break, and it appears to be getting progressively worse as the season drags on. Baker's velocity dipped Monday night and manager Ron Gardenhire said he would be examined by team doctors on Tuesday.
``It's never easy, but you never want to be that guy to go on the DL,' Baker said. ``If that's decision they make, you have to do what's best for the team and for yourself individually.'
The struggling Twins offense staked Baker to a 5-1 lead after five innings, but it all came apart in the sixth. Baker gave up a leadoff triple to Carl Crawford, a sacrifice fly to Adrian Gonzalez and back-to-back homers to David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to tie the game 5-5.
``Bake was throwing the ball good,' Gardenhire said. ``He got a couple up and they deposited a couple off him, and that's a lineup where you can't breathe.'
Ortiz, the former Twin, went 4 for 5 with a homer, a double and three RBIs. His base hit in the ninth off Joe Nathan scored the go-ahead run, prolonging the misery for the team that let him leave after the 2002 season.
He's been making the Twins pay ever since. In 42 career games against them, Ortiz is hitting .327 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs.
``I've been gone for years already,' Ortiz said, insisting there's no hard feelings about being let go. ``In this business, sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. One thing I would say about the Twins organization is I always thank them for giving me the opportunity to come play at this level.'
The Twins scored just four runs - and committed five errors - in a weekend sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, a series so ugly that Gardenhire said his team ``didn't play worth a flip.'
They showed more fight on Monday, but it wasn't enough against the best team in the AL.
The biggest concern is Baker, who has been the team's best starter for most of the season.
``I have no problem pitching with some discomfort, as long as it's something that's not going to get worse,' Baker said. ``I'm OK with it being a little sore, but if you're not effective because of it, that's a different story. So we've got some things to talk through and work through.'
NOTES: Twins SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka had the day off to be with his wife for the birth of the couple's first child. Baby girl Sena was born at 8:26 a.m. and weighed in at 6 pounds, 9 ounces. ... Twins GM Bill Smith said minor league RHPs Kyle Gibson and Anthony Slama met with team doctors to discuss their elbow injuries. Both will undergo further tests on Tuesday before a determination is made. ... The HRs Baker allowed were his first two since June 8. ... LHP Francisco Liriano (7-9, 5.03 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins in Game 2 on Tuesday against LHP Erik Bedard (4-7, 3.55). ... It will be Bedard's second start for the Red Sox since coming in a trade from Seattle. He gave up three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts in five innings of a no-decision against Cleveland on Aug. 4. ... Liriano has been wildly inconsistent all season and is coming off one of his worst starts of the year when he gave up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings in a loss to the Angels.
The Associated Press News Service
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