It's never a good night when the Yankees win and the Rays lose in extra innings. All things considered it could have been worse. The Twins collected 10 hits yet managed only two runs. I know the extra inning losses sting a bit more, but I prefer them to a game where the Rays don't play well and get blown out. At least in games like tonight's there is a chance of victory in the air, however faint.
David Price pitched well, but didn't have the same dominating stuff as he did in his last outing against Detroit. Not that it's required of him every time out. In that start against Detroit he generated over 20 swinging strikes in just 6.1IP, compared with just 8 tonight - all on his fastball. Granted, the Twins have a better lineup than the Tigers and don't strikeout nearly as much. The Twins' bats were fairly silent against Price, aside from the run scoring double Jason Repko hit in the second inning. That would be the only extra base hit Price would allow. The fourth inning presented a little bit of a jam as Minnesota put men on first and second with no outs. Thankfully, Michael Cuddyer grounded sharply to Evan Longoria who nearly turned a triple play, instead settling for two outs. The young lefty pitched well enough to win, but the Rays offense - who came into the game averaging 6.53 R/9 in Price's starts - managed to score zero. I'm no expert but I think it's pretty tough to pick up a win when your offense doesn't score.
The reason for the offensive ineptitude has two names; Scott and Baker. The Twins' righty pitched a fantastic game, going eight strong innings allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out seven. His two most effective pitches were the slider and curveball. Each registered a strike percentage of over 72 while getting a combined five whiffs on 34 pitches. Baker and Price actually squared off in a similar fashion back on July 2nd in Minnesota. Each pitched well in that game, but two late runs off Price sealed the victory for the Baker and the Twins. Alas, Baker would not get the win on this night as Matt Capps blew a 1-0 9th inning lead.
Evan Longoria led off the inning with a double that, as strange as it sounds, bounced off of Delmon Young's leg. He would advance to third on a Matt Joyce fly out and then be driven in on a single by Dan Johnson. A game tying home run off Papelbon it wasn't, but it did the trick. John Jaso and B.J. Upton would each strike out to end the inning. With Andy Sonnanstine being placed on the DL Lance Cormier was called upon to pitch the 10th, his first outing since July 20th. Cormier has not pitched particularly well this season, so the expectation bar was not set too high for him. Whatever height that bar was set at, Cormier easily jumped over it. He pitched three scoreless innings and was sent out to start the 13th. I didn't have an issue with the move seeing as how the only other options in the pen were Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano. The inning started off with a walk to Alexi Casilla, which then brought up Joe Mauer. The Twins catcher hit a ground ball to the right side that just got underneath the glove of Reid Brignac. The Rays infield was set at double play depth so Brignac had to range pretty far to get close to it, but it still looked as if he should have come up with the ball. Casilla advanced to third on the play and would score on a Delmon Young single. That run would prove to be the game winner as the Rays were retired in order in the 13th.
- Good job by Chad Qualls to hold the Twins scoreless with two men on and one one. He's showing Rays fans exactly why Andrew Friedman acquired him.
- If the ball Sean Rodriguez hit in the 8th inning is six inches more to the right this game probably doesn't go into extra innings. Another aspect of the randomness of the game.
- Happy Birthday, Carl Crawford. It's too bad your next one will be celebrated in another uniform *sad face*