Minnesota Twins Game Grades in 7-5 Loss to Tampa Rays
Promising Start to Game Falls Short as Rays Overpower Minnesota Twins 7-5.
Evan Longoria tied Edwin Encarnacion as the only two players to ever hit a home run in all four games of a 4-game series against the Twins. At the end of the 2010 season, the year Target Field opened, Encarnacion hit 5 home runs in a 4-game set. This weekend, Longoria matched Encarnacion’s feat, hitting two today to complete his 5 HR, 8 RBI series as the Rays won three of four.
His last RBI came on a single to left that brought in the second run in the 9th inning against Kevin Jepsen, who once again could not properly located his curveball, leaving the Rays to tee off on his fastball. A double (and an error by Byron Buxton) had the lead-off man aboard for Tampa on third base in a 5-5 tie game. Two walks, around a strikeout, had the bases loaded with 1 out for Jepsen and the Twins.
A sacrifice fly brought in the winning run, and then Longoria’s single brought in the final run to make it 7-5 Rays. Fernando Abad then relieved Jepsen and got the Twins out of any further damage.
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This looked to be a game the Twins would win early on. They had leads of 1-0 and 4-1, and each time the Twins scored, the very next half inning the Rays would counter. Twins’ starter Tyler Duffey could not keep the ball in the park, giving up two home runs to Logan Morrison and another to Longoria in his 5.2 innings of work.
At one point, after Longoria’s second of the game in the 8th inning, this time off Brandon Kintzler, the Rays had scored 13 consecutive runs via the long ball in the series against Minnesota. That home run made it 5-4 Rays going into the bottom of the 8th inning.
The Twins would counter for the last time, a home run by Eduardo Nunez to briefly tie the score at 5-5, before Jepsen’s implosion minutes later. That was the third home run for the Twins, after back-to-back shots by Byung-ho Park and Robbie Grossman in the 3rd inning provided an early 3-1 Twins lead. An RBI triple by Buxton scored the Twins’ third run of the inning, making it 4-1.
But once again, the Twins’ lack of clutch hitting did them in. They left 11 runners on base, and hit just 1-11 with runners in scoring position. Twins fall to 16-40 on the season, a season-low 24 games under .500 and now 15 games behind the Cleveland Indians. The Indians were leading 5-0 in the bottom of the 6th in a rain delay at time of writing this game summary.
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MVT: Byron Buxton
The Minnesota Twins will have tomorrow off before facing Miami for 3 interleague games against the Marlins, starting on Tuesday. First pitch at Target Field is at 7:10 CDT. Pat Dean will get the start for the Twins. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports North.