Chris Archer is typically a tough customer to get runs on, and tonight was no exception. Archer tallied eight strikeouts in 4 innings for a healthy 18 K/9. The Twins weren't able to capitalize on the hits they did get, stranding two in scoring position in the fourth inning.
On the other side of the hill, Tyler Duffey was doing his part to keep the Twins in the game. In fact, he didn't allow a hit through 3 innings. However, the fourth inning wasn't as smooth for the Duff Man. Daniel Nava led off with a solo HR for the Rays first hit. An out later, Evan Longoria doubled and John Jaso walked. After Forsythe flew out, Asdrubal Cabrera walked to load the bases. Neil Allen went out and talked to Duffey, and they both agreed that this was not ideal for winning baseball games. He got James Loney to ground out to end the threat.
In the 5th inning, the Twins were finally able to get on the board. Chris Herrmann started the festivities with a single. Shane Robinson traded places with him on a ground out, and then stole 2nd base. Byron Buxton singled but Robinson had to hold up. Dozier grounded to Longoria, who threw to second but Logan Forsythe was off the bag and Buxton was safe at second. The Rays didn't like this, and voiced their disgruntlement but those "neighborhood" plays can't be review. The tying run, Robinson, scored on the error and Brian reached first. Archer was able to bear down and strike out Mauer and Sano to end the inning, though.
The Rays took back the lead though, after Kevin Kiermaier tripled, he later scored on a single. The Rays left the bases loaded again, though, as Duffey performed another escape act.
Never giving up or surrendering, the Twins tied it again in the 6th on Eduardo Escobar's 2-out solo home run.
Duffey, using his strategy of loading the bases and then trying to work out of it, gave up three singles to start the 6th. Rene Rivera then popped out, but Duffey's night was done. Brian Duensing came in and got the next two batters to fly out to end the inning. This is what some would call "clutch."
Twins batters decided it might be a good idea to score more than one run sometimes and thats what they did in the 7th. Buxton and Dozier both reached on bunts after Shane Robinson walked. This loaded the bases for Joe Mauer, and ended Chris Archer's night as the Rays brought in lefty Xavier Cedeno. Joe broke his bat but was able to drop one into center field to score a run. Trevor Plouffe drove in a second run with a sac fly, but Rosario struck out to end the inning.
Evan Longoria hit a homer to cut the lead to 4-3 in the 7th off of Duensing, who then walked Jaso. Blaine Boyer, freshly off the DL, came in and worked out of the inning, though. In the next inning, Escobar launched another solo-HR, his 7th on the year, pushing the Twin lead to 5-3. Boyer worked a clean 8th, then Kevin Jepsen was brought in to face his former team and recorded the save. Glen Perkins apparently has been dealing with back spasms since Sunday, and has been unavailable since. The bullpen did a splendid job tonight, which is refreshing after how bad it's been recently.
The win put the Twins in sole possession of the second wild-card spot, half a game ahead of the Rangers. I think that's a good note to end on. Studs and duds were everyone and nobody, respectively.
Thanks for a great thread tonight, and good night.
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