The Twins' offense didn't generate a lot of runs, but this time the Minnesota bullpen actually made the lead stand up, as the Twins salvaged the finale of their four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays with a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Minnesota got another strong start from a member of their starting rotation, as Brian Duensing (1-0, 3.60 ERA) pitched seven innings, scattering seven hits and allowing both Tampa Bay runs. Glen Perkins pitched the eighth inning, and got into a bit of trouble before getting John Jaso to ground into a double play to end the inning. He gave way to Matt Capps, who pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to get his first save of the year.
Tampa struck first in this one, as Johnny Damon. . .yes, that guy again. . .got an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. On the play, Jason Repko made an outstanding throw to Danny Valencia at third base to cut down Sam Fuld trying to advance from first to third, a play that turned out to make a difference later on.
Jason Kubel got that run back in the top of the fourth, as he hit an opposite field solo home run off of Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.50) to tie the game at one. Tampa went back ahead in the bottom of the fourth on a Sean Rodriguez triple to take a 2-1 lead. The Twins offense exploded. . .well, relative to what the Twins' offense has done this year, in any case. . .with three runs in the top of the fifth, as Michael Cuddyer led off the inning with a double. After Danny Valencia popped out, Steve Holm singled to move Cuddyer to third. Jason Repko then singled, bringing home Cuddyer to tie the game at two.
Repko then stole second, and Tampa Bay catcher Kelly Shoppach's throw wound up in center field, allowing Holm to trot home from third. Matt Tolbert then tripled to right to score Repko, and the Twins had a 4-2 lead. That would be the last run either side would score in this one, as the Twins went home with the victory.
Duensing was the beneficiary of some very good defense on the afternoon, as Repko made an outstanding catch in the bottom of the second to take extra bases away from Sean Rodriguez. Jason Kubel and Delmon Young made some outstanding plays in the outfield this afternoon as well.
The Twins snap their four-game losing streak, and in the process snap Tampa's five-game winning streak.
Minnesota will now hop on a flight to Baltimore to open up a four-game set with the Orioles. After getting off to a hot start to begin the year, the Orioles have dropped seven consecutive games, including getting swept in a three-game set in Cleveland this weekend. First pitch for tomorrow is set for 6:05 PM Central, and the pitching match-up will see Francisco Liriano (0-3, 9.42 ERA) take the hill for the Twins, while the Orioles will send right-hander Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.30) to the hill.