Managing up another win.
If you were like me, you didn't watch this game. I submit that this makes us, and those like us, very lucky. Because that bullpen implosion in the tenth? I have now seen the wanton destruction. It is not pretty. And it wasn't all Brian Dozier's fault, either.
Scott Diamond delivered, again. He tossed seven innings of three-run baseball, which is a performance he's seemingly attempting to clone. While the Rays kept up their tradition of first inning home runs, thanks to Desmond Jennings taking Diamond deep on the fifth pitch of the afternoon, that's still a performance that keeps your team in the game. Bless their hearts, the offense tried to keep up, too.
After Jeff Keppinger led off the second inning with a homer to put the Twins in a 2-0 hole, Justin Morneau got hold of a James Shields breaking ball and launched it onto the concourse in right field. Josh Willingham scored on the play, making it a 2-2 contest. The very next inning Joe Mauer drove in Denard Span from third base on a line drive single going the other way.
So yes. The Twins were actually ahead. Back-to-back doubles from the Rays to lead off the fifth knotted the game at 3-3, but yes: the Twins were ahead.
The only down side of Diamond's day was that five of the eight hits he allowed went for extra bases. Outside of that he was pretty damn good: eight ground ball outs, two of the remaining three hits were on the ground, just one out in the air, six strikeouts, just two walks. He did only induce 7 swinging strikes, good for a 7.4% whiff rate, but that's still right in line with what he's done this season.
Oh yeah. That deplorable tenth inning. Alex Burnett loaded the bases with one out, induced a run-scoring groundout *, and was relieved by Tyler Robertson who drilled Carlos Pena. With the bases loaded again Robertson was pulled in favor of Casey Fien. Fien attacked both Ryan Roberts and Matt Joyce but they combined for a pair of hits that plated three more runs in the inning. And that's all she wrote.
* Instead of throwing home in at attempt to force out the swift Jennings at the plate, Dozier threw to first to get a sure out. It's possible he could have forced Jennings, because he wasn't exactly booking it down the line. It's also possible he could have initiated a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, although that would have been tight, too. Instead Dozier went for the guaranteed out. It's easy to second guess him after the fact, when the Rays scored four runs in the inning, but most of that blame needs to be put at the feet of the pitchers who continued to not do their jobs.
Let's move along!