The Minnesota Twins have lost five straight and are a season-worst four games under .500. Facing a nine-game road trip, starting with a three-game interleague series against first-place Atlanta on Monday, things could quickly get out of hand if they don't rediscover their offense.
"It's tough to win a ballgame when you don't have any clutch hits," Chris Parmelee said after the Twins lost to the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Sunday in a game interrupted by a three-hour rain delay - the longest ever at Target Field.
Minnesota managed only a single hit against Red Sox starter John Lackey (2-4). Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks homered for Boston, which won its fifth straight.
Pedro Hernandez (2-1) gave up three runs on a season-high nine hits - including Middlebrooks's solo homer in the second - in 4 1-3 innings.
"We need innings and we didn't get it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He managed to keep the score at a pace where at least we had a chance, but it wasn't a great performance by any means."
The home crowd, in fact, cheered more during the rain delay while watching the 1993 baseball movie "The Sandlot" on the Target Field big screen. Afterward, the few hundred fans who stuck out the delay cheered as loud as they could when Joe Mauer came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth.
The cheers quickly turned to groans as Mauer struck out swinging for the third time, ending his AL-leading 15-game hit streak. The Twins finished their latest homestand 2-7.
"It's been a tough one, it's not the way we wanted it to go," Parmelee said. "But you can't take it back now, you just have to move forward."
Lackey (2-4) ended his three-game losing streak by giving up one unearned run and striking out five before dark skies and heavy rain sent fans running for cover as he was warming up to start the seventh.
"It's tough," Parmelee said "You're sitting down, you're trying to stay as loose as possible. You don't really know when the rain's going to let up or when you're going to be able to get back out there."
The Twins were 18-17 after beating the Chicago White Sox 10-3 last Monday and were only a couple games out of first place. Since then, they've been outscored 33-14.
Lackey was perfect through four innings before Trevor Plouffe led off the fifth with a double. He eventually came around to score - although the Red Sox helped out with that when Lackey hit Oswaldo Arcia in the foot, and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco's errant throw to first allowed Plouffe to make it 3-1.
Josh Roenicke relieved Hernandez with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth, and got Middlebrooks on a popup and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a grounder to get keep the Red Sox from doing any more damage.
NOTES: Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey threw 17 pitches in one inning of a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night. Manager John Farrell said Bailey - on the DL since May 6 with a right bicep strain - is on track to be activated on Monday. ... Franklin Morales, on the DL since March 31 wish a low back strain, started the game for Pawtucket and allowed five runs in four innings. He's expected to make at least one more rehab start. ... Boston SS Stephen Drew missed his second straight game with a sore back. ... Patrick Renna and Chauncey Leopardi, aka "Ham" and "Squints" from "The Sandlot," visited Gardenhire in his office before the game. "The players wondered what we did wrong to get summoned to the manager's office," Renna said. ... Jon Lester (6-0, 2.72 ERA) starts on Monday as the Red Sox begin a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. Dylan Axelrod (1-3, 4.27) is scheduled to start for Chicago. ... Kevin Correia (4-3, 3.35) starts for Minnesota as the Twins kick off a nine-game road trip against Atlanta on Monday. Julio Teheran (2-1, 4.57) starts for the Braves.