Minnesota got some impressive pitching early and held on late to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in Spring Training action today by a score of 5-4.
Minnesota opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning when Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled off of Mike Ekstrom, stole second, and came around to score on Jason Kubel's single. Kubel racked up two more RBI in the fifth with a double off of Dane De La Rosa, scoring Brian Dozier (who was running for Nishioka) and Denard Span.
Tampa Bay lit up the Twins' Eric Hacker in the top of the sixth, touching him up for three runs after Hacker gave up three consecutive singles to start the frame. By the time the sixth was over, the Rays had tied the game at three, and they took the lead in the top of the seventh when Justin Ruggiano led off the inning with a triple off of Kyle Gibson, and scored on Chris Carter's fielders choice.
Minnesota came back, however, getting two runs in the bottom of the eighth courtesy of a single by Ben Revere and a sacrifice fly by Chase Lambin to provide the final score of 5-4. Carlos Gutierrez pitched a hitless ninth to pick up the save.
As I mentioned, the Twins' early pitching was impressive, as Kevin Slowey (three innings), Jose Mijares (one inning) and Joe Nathan (one inning) combined to allow just one hit over five innings, that being a first inning double that Slowey surrendered to Manny Ramirez.
The Twins and the Rays will face off again tomorrow.