The worst thing about tonight's game wasn't the fact that the Twins lost. No, the Rays are a good team, and by this point we do expect the good teams to better the not as good teams. The worst thing about tonight's game was Fernando Rodney's hat.
David Price was his predictable, fantastic self. Nick Blackburn, in spite of taking the loss, could have been worse. He allowed all four runs in his six innings of work, three coming in the first inning thanks to homers from B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce. Another solo shot from Upton completed the scoring, but the Rays combined for 11 hits and a walk. 12 base runners in six innings of work usually results in more runs, but a pair of double plays helped the cause.
Justin Morneau made a great decision in the seventh. With runners on the corners and two away, Tyler Robertson relieved Alex Burnett to face Joyce. With Joyce at 2-2, Robertson was watching Desmond Jennings very closely at first base and caught him stealing. He threw to first, where Morneau wisely held onto the ball. Instead of getting into a run-down that would have allowed Ryan Roberts to score from third, Justin chase Roberts back to the bag with a quick throw over.
Robertson struck out Joyce, who had looked at sliders for strikes one and two, on a swing-and-miss slider.
It should be said that the Minnesota bullpen looked great tonight. Burnett put the Twins in a situation, but Robertson was all moxie facing his one batter. Casey Fien struck out the first two batters he faced in a perfect inning. Jared Burton was similarly perfect in the ninth, although his strikeout total was one.
Today's Twins lineup showed how shallow the talent pool is on the position player side of the ball. With Denard Span getting a well deserved day off, Ben Revere was first with Jamey Carroll sliding up to hit second. As a result, 6-7-8-9 went Darin Mastroianni, Brian Dozier, Drew Butera, Alexi Casilla. It wasn't exactly a thick lineup.
Mastroianni did pick up a pair of hits on two infield singles. Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau hit a couple of balls hard today, so by the quality of contact you would have hoped for more than three hits between them. But such is the game.
The Twins look to salvage a game of this home series tomorrow.