Scott Baker got bitten by the long ball, again.
Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays took advantage of Scott Baker's long ball tenancies to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-3 on Friday night at Tropicanna Field. Baker extended his major league lead in home runs allowed to 14, despite missing the first two weeks of the season. Baker gave up four earned runs on two home runs--the other to Carl Crawford--in 5 and 2/3 innings, putting the Twins in a hole they could not dig themselves out of against James Shields and the Rays bullpen.
Joe Mauer had three hits and a run and Justin Morneau added two hits a run and an RBI to lead the offense. But Jason Kubel struck out twice and left four men on base to kill rallys early in the game and allow Shields to get into a rhythm. Michael Cuddyer blasted a solo homer off Shields to start the scoring and give the Twins a glimmer of hope in the sixth. In the eigth, after a Mauer triple, Morneau lined a double down the left field line to score Mauer. He later scored on Longoria throwing error to pull the Twins within one run. But the Twins could not break through the rest of the way against the Rays bullpen.
The Rays added a run in the bottom of the eighth with the assistance of the umpires. WIth one out and Carl Crawford on first, Crain picked off Crawford, who was prevented from touching first by the glove of Justin Morneau. Yet he was called safe. On the next pitch, Crain struck out Longoria on a beautiful curveball that was called a ball. The next pitch was lined hard off Crain's hip for an infield single, and his night was done. Jose Mijares enduced a double play grounder off the bat of Carlos Pena to end the inning, ecept he forgot to cover first and the inning stayed alive. The next batter, Willy Aybar, doubled down the left field line to score Crawford and bring on Matt Guerrier. Guerrier loaded the bases before getting out of the inning--an inning which should have ended with a pick-off of Crawford and a strikeout of Longoria. The Twis were left shaking their heads at the obvious blown calls they've endured of late.
But it did not matter. Ultimately. Longoria's homer put the game out of reach and the Twins bats couldn't catch up, despite heroics by the M&M boys.