MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are guaranteed the worst record in baseball.
Max Kepler homered and Robbie Grossman had three hits, but Minnesota lost 4-3 to Seattle on Sunday for its 100th loss. This is the second time in team history the Twins have had triple-digit losses: The 1982 squad finished 60-102.
“It’s going to stare at you all winter long,” said manager Paul Molitor.
At 56-100, the Twins are 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta at the bottom of the majors with six games to play.
“You definitely don’t want to be on top of that list for most losses in a season,” said Hector Santiago, who allowed four earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Seattle’s Nelson Cruz homered twice before leaving with left wrist soreness and Jesus Sucre homered for the first time in 14 months. Trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2001, Seattle has won 12 of 17 and is 2 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second American League wild-card spot with a week to play.
Minnesota finished 30-51 at home.
The announced crowd of 22,092 pushed the team’s season total to 1,963,912, the lowest in seven seasons at Target Field. Since the ballpark opened in 2010 — also the Twins’ last playoff appearance — attendance has declined annually. Last year, 2,220,054 tickets were sold. The last time Minnesota failed to draw at least 2 million fans was in 2004, when 1,911,418 fans attended games in the Metrodome.
“We were able to feel supportive as a group by our fans this year,” Molitor said. “Draw close to 2 million fans in a year where things don’t go particularly well. I want to acknowledge that. On behalf of the team, we appreciate the people coming out.”
But, they again saw the home team lose. The Twins had three errors Sunday, two by shortstop Jorge Polanco, and again struggled to get a clutch hit.
Kepler’s home run gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead in the second, but Sucre hit a two-run shot in the fifth for a 3-2 Seattle advantage.
“That leadoff walk in that fifth inning kind of got me. That led to that fastball that Sucre hit out. Overall, good, felt pretty good, command was pretty good,” Santiago said.
Seattle starter Taijuan Walker (7-11) danced around danger for most of his 5 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and three earned runs. Minnesota was 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position through five innings before an RBI single by Juan Centeno got the Twins within 4-3 and ended Walker’s day.
Nick Vincent, Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz combined for 3 2/3 innings of no-hit relief for Seattle, including Diaz’s 17th save in 19 chances.
Home plate umpire and crew chief Jerry Layne took a Robinson Cano foul ball off his mask in the first inning and had to leave the game with concussion-like symptoms. Layne stumbled to his right and was grabbed by catcher Juan Centeno, who was quickly aided by Cano. Layne was tended to by Minnesota trainers for a few minutes before gingerly leaving the field. Hunter Wendelstedt took over home plate duties.
Twins: After officially missing five straight games with sore quadriceps, 1B Joe Mauer was 0 for 3 with a walk as the team’s designated hitter Sunday. Hitless in his last 15 at-bats, Mauer is 2 for 32 in his past nine games. He also struck out twice Wednesday before that game was rained out.
Mariners: Seattle opens a three-game series in Houston Monday with Hisashi Iwakuma (16-12, 4.04) looking to bounce back after allowing six runs in 3 1-3 innings against Toronto last time out. He’ll face the Astros Collin McHugh (12-10, 4.61).
Twins: Jose Berrios (2-7, 8.88) is to get the ball when Minnesota opens a three-game set Tuesday in Kansas City. The Royals are scheduled to counter with Ian Kennedy (11-10, 3.64).