By the time the first two batters of the game were finished, the Twins had committed two errors while giving up an uncontested stolen base and a run scored.
It didn’t get a lot better as Burlington earned a 5-0 win in an Appalachian League game at Northeast Community Credit Union Ballpark.
Falling to 12-10 on the season, the Twins dropped 1 1/2 games behind leader Johnson City in the West Division.
The Twins play host to Burlington (10-12) again Friday at 6:30 in the last of a three-game series.
Burlington was dominant on the mound. Six-foot-eight, 190-pound right-hander Noah Murdock tossed four no-hit innings. He walked a batter and struck out six. The University of Virginia product left the contest after just 49 pitches because of a tight pitch count.
“We’re tying to stretch him out a little bit,” said Burlington manager Chris Widger. “He didn’t throw a whole lot of innings in college, so we’re trying to stretch him out, up to 75 pitches. That was it for him tonight, four innings.”
Murdock was followed by Drew Parrish, who worked three scoreless innings. He allowed three hits with no walks and five strikeouts and was credited with the win.
For the Twins, right-hander Ben Gross (2-1) authored his third straight strong start despite a rough first inning. He allowed five hits and only one earned run in four innings, walking none and striking out six.
Steven Cruz was terrific while finishing up for the Twins. He worked three scoreless, walking one and blowing through six batters for strikeouts.
THE UGLY FIRST
Jay Charleston reached on an error and stole second base. He came home on Jack Gethings’ bloop single to left field. Gethings scored on Michael Massey’s base hit to make it 2-0.
Burlington loaded the bases with one out, but Gross got a strikeout and ground out to quell the uprising.
BREAKING IT OPEN
Burlington struck for three runs in the fifth inning with Charleston the fire starter once again. He led off with a double and stole third base. Connie Pasquantino drove him in with a single to make it 3-0.
Jake Means later added an RBI double, and David Hollie drove in a run with a single.
Means and William Hancock each finished with two hits for the Royals.
Elizabethton finished with as many errors (4) as hits.