Instead, the Twins turned to Brian Bass, who pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits. Bobby Korecky pitched for the second straight day and did not allow a run over his 1 2/3 innings. Joe Nathan then came in for the eighth and recorded one inning of work, surrendering a solo shot to Hamilton. It was the first run that Nathan has allowed in nine appearances this season."Our bullpen is overworked, to say the least," Gardenhire said. "We can't keep going to them for five or six innings a game. That won't work." Pitching-wise, it has been a difficult stretch for Minnesota. The Twins starters had been a big reason for the team's ability to battle through some early offensive woes. But following Sunday's loss, the Twins starting pitchers are now 0-3 with an 8.27 ERA over their last seven contests, having pitched just a total of 32 2/3 innings over that span. The group has not recorded a win since Nick Blackburn picked up a "W" over the Indians on April 19. "I think coming out of spring, we got a lot from them early," Gardenhire said of his starting staff. "And I expect them to be good. I think we have good arms. We're just going through a bit of a hiccup here. Hopefully, it will be over with as we'll get back home and throw the ball better." Sunday's game marked Hernandez's first loss of the season and the first time the Twins had not picked up a victory with him on the mound. But while the starters have hit a rough spell, Hernandez said the key for the staff is not to let the difficult road trip carry over into their next starts. "Tomorrow is a new day, and you have to come back and make adjustments," Hernandez said. "You watch the video and see what you do bad. You know, I think the young guys have to think like that, too. I try to talk to the people about that, like [Francisco] Liriano and other guys. When you have a bad day, you just have to forget about it and come back and work to get better." The Twins will now enter a stretch where they have three off-days over the course of eight days. That includes a day off on Monday, one that they hope will help their taxed bullpen to regroup. While it's not the way the team wanted to head into that stretch, following a difficult road trip, the team did take some positives out of the six games. Despite Sunday's blowout loss, the Twins were very close to finishing with a 4-2 record on the trip instead of a 2-4 one. "So far this season, we've been there. We just haven't been able to get over the hump," Michael Cuddyer said. "We should have won and could have won a lot of our games. We just couldn't get over the hump. Hopefully, we'll be able to do that as the season goes along."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.