Kevin Correia's streak of good starts came to an end this afternoon, and it didn't take long for it all to come undone. Dedmond Jennings jumped all over the second pitch from Correia and laced it into right for a double. The bases loaded on back-to-back walks, and then James Loney singled to bring in two. That first inning was maddening to watch after having seen Minnesota get out-classed all weekend, and it would have been worse if Matt Joyce's leg had actually been on the ground at the play at the plate.
Falling behind early is going to be a difficult hill to climb for this Twins team the rest of the year. Hot starts have mostly disappeared as sample sizes have grown, and the two best chances for production on the team - Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham - are out and slumping, in that order.
Willingham did do his part, driving in one run on a single and a second on a fielder's choice. Tampa Bay did the Twins a couple of favors, with an error allowing Oswaldo Arcia to reach base for Willingham in the first instance. The second favor came on a wild pitch in the sixth, allowing Trevor Plouffe to come home from third. But 5-3 was the closest they'd get from there.
Grant Balfour issued back-to-back one-out walks in the ninth, throwing four straight out of the zone to Kurt Suzuki before Sam Fuld battled for his own free pass. But Dozier's fielder's choice left runners on the corners with two away, and Eduardo Nunez popped up into foul territory behind first base for the final out of the game.
The streaking Rays have now won five straight, and after a 5-2 record entering the break the Twins have been swept to open up the second half of the season. With three at home against Cleveland starting tomorrow, and then a four-game set versus the White Sox starting Thursday, let's hope this home stand improves dramatically.
- It was 2-0, Rays, with runners on the corners and one out when Correia flipped the ball home with his glove on a first inning squeeze. The ball came in high so even though Eric Fryer was quick bringing the glove down to apply the tag, it was only Joyce's slide that ensured the out. A better slide would have left no time for Fryer to get his glove down.
- Down 3-0 in the bottom of the second, Willingham's line drive up the middle beat the shift. Arcia was waved around and did a good job to slap his hand on the plate around Curt Casali's tag. Casali had to field the throw a couple of feet up the first base line and had to dive to try and get Arcia, but he was late by a hair.
- Evan Longoria cracked a pair of doubles, setting the Rays' franchise record for career doubles with 216. Carl Crawford owned the record previously with 215.
- Chris Archer was let down by his defense a bit, but only one of the three runs he allowed was earned.
- Samuel Deduno did a nice job in relief, picking up a short outing from Correia. Deduno went three innings, allowing three hits and giving up three walks that led to one run, but he also struck out five. He was wild, but he also had brilliant stuff today. And no, no he does not need to try the rotation again. Stop it.
- Brian Dozier and Eduardo Nunez, batting 1-2, were each 0-for-5 with six runners left on base. Head, meet desk.
Win Expectancy Graph