Strategy nearly backfired on Ron Washington and the Texas Rangers tonight. With the Twins trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Eduardo Escobar stood on first as the pinch runner for Wilkin Ramirez following his pinch hit Texas League single over Ian Kinsler. With Brian Dozier at the dish the Rangers noticed that he tends to go the other way when he lines one into the outfield, and shifted their outfield way over to right field. David Murphy was standing in the left-center field gap.
Dozier ripped a liner into left field, right into the spot where Murphy would have been had they played Brian straight up. Instead it went for extra bases, leaving Dozier on second and Escobar on third. Joe Mauer was given an intentional pass. Texas chose to pitch to the player who had homered earlier in the game, the only player to have any success all evening, instead of pitching to Mauer with the game potentially on the line.
Willingham went down early before fighting back to a full count, but eventually ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
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- Chris Parmelee has been playing the right field wall better, not always, but certainly on a more consistent basis. In the top of the second Nelson Cruz dropped one off the wall, Parmelee waiting for it, and then made a quick relay into second base to nail Cruz for the out. He's been taking better angles, and it's going to take time for anyone to get used to Target Field's right field corner, so it's great to see.
- Brian Dozier had a couple of nice plays in the field today, including fielding a funny hop in the sixth. He was just 1-for-4 today, but we haven't seen the last of him in the leadoff role.
- Dozier partnered with Joe Mauer for a nice strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play to end the fourth.
- Vance Worley had some long innings, but he allowed just two runs in five innings.
- Josh Roenicke picked up the slack, throwing a pair of shutout innings. He allowed three hits and a walk, striking out one.
- Trevor Plouffe was the only Twin on base more than once tonight, thanks to a two-hit performance.