On a cold, blustery, occasionally damp evening, the Twins were able to muster the first run of the game for the first time this season. And that was the highlight of the game.
Rangers starter Matt Harrison pitched 8 strong innings, while his teammates were able to bat around in the 4th against Twins' de facto ace Anthony Swarzak, sending Minnesota to a 4-1 defeat.
The Twins got off to a promising start against Harrison, with Danny Valencia's sacrifice fly in the 2nd staking them to a 1-0 lead. The Twins were unable to add to the rally despite a double by Trevor Plouffe, and that was as much of a threat as they would pose until the bottom of the 9th.
The Rangers pushed past the Twins in the 4th, stringing together four consecutive singles to take a 2-1 lead. After a Luke Hughes error extended the inning, they added a third run.
Swarzak was otherwise steady, with the exception of an Ian Kinsler solo dong in the 7th that gave the Rangers their final run. No walks, seven innings, four earned runs. It's not vintage Johan Santana, but it's the kind of start that the Twins will likely need to capitalize on this season.
With the Rangers up three in the 9th, they surprisingly left their new closer, former Twin Joe Nathan, on the bench, and went with Alexi Ogando instead. Ogando immediately gave up a couple hits and brought the tying run to the plate, but settled down and ended the game without further drama.
Swarzak (grading on Twins starting pitcher curve)
Jared Burton and Matt Maloney. Both pitched 1-2-3 innings. Yay anonymous bullpen guys!
Josh Willingham. Extended his hitting streak to 7 games.
Luke Hughes. Second game in a row he's had issues fielding his position. This is going to prove unpopular with Ron Gardenhire, if I had to reckon.
M & M Boys. Mauer another GIDP in the 8th; Morneau 0-for-4.
Day game Saturday, s'posed to be beautiful. You should get tickets and go rather than read about it on the internet. Enjoy your weekend everybody.