Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez throws during the fourth...

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Pablo Lopez throws during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

WASHINGTON — Eight days ago, the Minnesota Twins were baseball’s hottest team and winners of 17 of 20 games.

After Monday night’s 12-3 loss at the Washington Nationals, the same club was mired in a seven-game slide so miserable that it sparked a players-only meeting.

“It’s easy to be a fun guy to be around when things are going good and when everything you’re hitting is falling and you’re just winning games,” Twins shortstop and two-time All-Star Carlos Correa said. “But when the tough times come, that’s when you know who people are. And it's helpful to talk.”

Correa hit a two-run homer, the bright spot in another sluggish outing for an offense that has been the primary culprit, scoring only 12 runs during Minnesota’s free fall to within a game of the .500 mark.

Against soft-tossing Nats starter Mitchell Parker, manager Rocco Baldelli said the Twins (24-23) simply weren't reacting.

“The guy just stood out there and threw off-speed pitches for four innings, and we didn’t do anything about it,” Baldelli said. “We continued to kind of wave at them and look for fastballs. Which today, they weren’t coming. Especially for the first five, six innings. And in this stretch of games where we’ve been struggling, that’s been a common theme.”

Baldelli said he's held two or three postgame talks already during a year that also included an earlier five-game slide, and is hesitant to conduct more because “it starts to get drowned out.” He approved of the players’ decision.

Washington Nationals' Jacob Young, right, steals second against Minnesota Twins...

Washington Nationals' Jacob Young, right, steals second against Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, left, during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Washington. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

“I don’t know what was said. I have no idea,” Baldelli said. “I think it was the right thing to do at the right time. And hopefully we get something out of it.”

In his sixth season in charge, he’s a little in awe of how quickly things have turned. Again.

“You start to forget some of the things that you’ve experienced when you flip it. I mean we’ve flipped the season completely around multiple times already,” Baldelli said. “I’ve seen a lot of streaky baseball, we all have. This is next-level stuff.”

Pablo López, Monday’s losing starter, expressed disappointment he couldn’t be the stopper but hoped the meeting would make a difference.

Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton starts his slide toward home on...

Minnesota Twins' Byron Buxton starts his slide toward home on a double by teammate Willi Castro during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, May 20, 2024, in Washington. Buxton was tagged out at home by Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

“Externalizing gives you the sense of relief,” López said. “When you say things out loud, when you hear things being said out loud, it puts things in perspective. So I think we said things that maybe we were thinking but weren’t saying out loud.”

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