(The "Duen-slinger" name was stolen from the Twitter of Seth Stohs of Seth Speaks. If his site isn't one of your regular Twins-related stops, it should be.)
The Minnesota Twins had not had a great deal of success against the Tampa Bay Rays this season, having lost six of the seven meetings between the two teams this season. Brian Duensing, who had gotten the only victory the Twins had mustered against the Rays this year, continued his personal success against the Rays this year as he fired a complete game shutout to lead the Twins to a 7-0 win on Monday afternoon at Target Field.
Things got off to a bit of a rocky start for Duensing, as Johnny Damon and Sean Rodriguez both reached on singles to start the game. After Evan Longoria flied out to left, Duensing issued a walk to B.J. Upton to load the bases. Fortunately, he got Justin Ruggiano to ground into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.
The Twins got the scoring underway in the bottom of the second, after Danny Valencia singled to left. Luke Hughes then struck out, but a single by Jason Repko and a walk to Matt Tolbert loaded the bases, and up came the much-embattled Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Nishioka smashed a double to deep right field to bring home Valencia and Repko to make the score 2-0. Ben Revere then grounded out to shortstop, allowing Tolbert to score from third and make the score 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, Michael Cuddyer celebrated being named to his first ever All-Star game yesterday by launching a mammoth home run into the second deck in left field, a solo blast to make the score 4-0. Things then remained scoreless until the bottom of the eighth, when Danny Valencia hit a shot that barely cleared the left field wall for a three-run home run, making the score 7-0.
Duensing (6-7, 4.25 ERA) found himself a serious groove after getting battered around early. From the fifth inning onward, the Rays had only two baserunners, a walk to Elliot Johnson to lead off the fifth, and a one-out single to center by Rodriguez in the eighth. Duensing's final line had him allowing six hits and walking four while striking out seven in the complete game shutout.
Rays' starter David Price (8-7, 3.56 ERA) took the loss for Tampa Bay. He allowed four runs on five hits in six innings of work, striking out six and walking one in the process.
The second game of this three-game set will take place on Tuesday night at Target Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The Rays will give the ball to another All-Star, right-hander James Shields (8-5, 2.45 ERA), while the Twins will send Scott Baker (6-5, 3.15 ERA) to the hill.