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Twins Waste Pavano's Brilliance, Fall To Rays, 4-3

Carl Pavano pitched eight brilliant innings on Thursday night, but Joe Nathan couldn't hold the lead in the ninth, and the Twins ultimately fell to the Tampa Bay Rays by a final score of 4-3 in ten innings.

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning tonight, but Nathan struggled in the ninth inning, registering one out before giving up a double to Felipe Lopez and a walk to Ben Zobrist before a double by Matt Joyce brought both runners home and tied the game at two.

After the Twins went ahead in the top of the tenth on an RBI single by Danny Valencia, Matt Capps came in for the tenth. Capps retired Reid Brignac on a fly out to left field, and then allowed a single to Sam Fuld. Johnny Damon then came to the plate and hit a two-run homer to right field to give Tampa their final margin of victory.

The Twins' first two runs came in the top of the sixth, as the Justin Morneau led off the inning with a double, Jim Thome moved him to third on a single, and Delmon Young hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Morneau. After a ground rule double by Jason Kubel and an intentional walk to Danny Valencia, Drew Butera singled to left to score Thome to give the Twins a 2-0 lead and leave the bases loaded with only one out. Unfortunately, the Twins could do no more damage.

Pavano had a great start, as he threw eight innings and scattered only four hits while striking out seven and walking just two. However, he did not figure into the decision. Capps took the loss for the Twins, while Kyle Farnsworth was credited with the victory for the Rays.

The same two teams will get together again tomorrow night in Tampa, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 PM Central time. The Twins will send right-hander Nick Blackburn (1-1, 0.77 ERA) to the mound, and the Rays will counter with right-hander Wade Davis (0-2, 4.38).

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.