Matt Garza pitched perhaps the best game of his young major-league career last night, but still came away with a loss as the Twins offense was unable to string together a single run against the lowly Royals.
Garza pitched 7 and 2/3 innings, and was extremely effective outside of a short stretch in the fifth inning in which he allowed three straight hits that brought in two runs. After those hits, Garza set down eight consecutive Royals hitters. In total, he allowed five hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Meanwhile, the Twins' offense made the Royals' "All-Star" Mark Redman look even better than Garza. Redman tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just five hits and striking out three over nine innings. The Twins did not draw a single walk and they did not have one extra base hit. That's not the type of performance you want to have in your home park against a pitcher with a 5.50 ERA and a .302 BAA.
Now the Twins are in a position where they need to win the next two games or else they'll lose the series, and this was supposed to be a "gimme series" at home before they play three-game set in Yankee stadium in which I believe they will have a very difficult time winning a single game.
Today is another day, and the Twins still have a good chance of winning tonight and tomorrow and taking the series. Nonetheless, last night they wasted a very good outing from their rookie pitcher and they let themselves get absolutely shut down by a bad pitcher. When you're entering the stretch run in an extremely tight playoff race, that's not something you can really afford to do.