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Rays 5, Twins 3

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Twins go down for the first time in eight days.

Jason Kubel and Delmon Young homers weren't enough this afternoon, as Francisco Liriano put the Twins in an early hole by allowing single runs in the first, third and fourth innings.  Liriano was the enigma of a pitcher he was last season, as he still struck out six over four innings but was still touched for seven hits.  On the plus side he only walked one, which meant he wasn't beating himself.

More than the 3.86 spring ERA, what's important to notice about Liriano's spring so far is this:  22 strikeouts, 2 walks, 14 innings.  Those are the encouraging numbers, and they're about as encouraging as you can get.  He'll still have one more appearance before the season finally gets underway, and it's likely that the Twins will finally try to stretch him to five innings.

Two things worth noting from today.  First, it's worth noting that Jacque Jones got another start in the outfield.  It's still a longshot for him to make the roster, but there's little doubt that Gardy is giving him every chance to show what he's got left in the tank.  Second, Alexi Casilla relieved Denard Span in center field after pinch-running for him in the top of the seventh.  It's wasn't Casilla's first appearance in center this spring, but the Twins are definitely focused on getting different guys playing time in center.

Uppers
Joe Mauer  (2-for-4, 2B)
Jason Kubel  (2-for-3, HR, RBI, 2 R)
Delmon Young  (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, R)
J.J. Hardy  (2-for-3)

Downers
Justin Morneau  (0-for-4, 2 K)
Jacque Jones  (0-for-3, 2 K)