Thursday's game begins in about 10 minutes, or so it seems, so this will be quick. A couple of leftovers from an excruciating 4-3 loss for the Twins:
-- Michael Tonkin can count on making his major-league debut in the series finale. The Twins used six of their eight relievers in the 13-inning loss, everyone but Josh Roenicke and closer Glen Perkins, so the rookie righthander figures to be the first man up in the bullpen tomorrow. (Er, later today.)
"We'll have to see how everybody is. Tonkin is probably a one- or two-inning guy," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We really need our starter (Mike Pelfrey) to get into the sixth or seventh inning. We keep not getting through the sixth, and that's too many innings" for the bullpen.
Kevin Correia was the latest example, lasting only 5 1/3 innings, the second time in three starts he hasn't finished six.
-- Correia's night was messy, by the way. The veteran righthander, who has won only once since May 27, allowed two base runners in five of the six innings he appeared in, and he walked a season-high five batters -- or as many as he walked in all of April. But he managed to strand six runners, and looked like he would protect the Twins' precarious lead.
Kelly Johnson, though, made sure otherwise. The Rays' left fielder waited until Correia ran the count to 3-1, then jumped on a 92-mph fastball that Correia left over the plate. Johnson's 13th home run of the season -- all of them have come against righthanded pitchers -- tied the score and handed Correia his fifth no-decision in his last eight starts.
"That's a dangerous lineup over there, and he kept the ball out of the center of the plate," Gardenhire said. "He pitched well enough, just made the one mistake there to Johnson, where he tried to throw a two-seamer away, and he threw it right down the middle. You'd sure like to see him get through that inning, though, and get it to our bullpen."
-- Gardenhire tried to find a good spot to use Trevor Plouffe as a pinch-hitter, but the situation never came up, he said. He considered using Plouffe for Oswaldo Arcia, who is suffering through a 4-for-29 (.138) slump since July 3, in the 11th inning, but with runners on second and third, figured the Rays would simply walk Plouffe to load the bases. Besides, with Chris Parmelee already out of the game, he would have to use an infielder in the outfield, he said. But Gardenhire said he was prepared to use Plouffe to pinch-hit for either Eduardo Escobar or Pedro Florimon in the 14th inning, had there been one.
Florimon, by the way, hit a two-run home run, his fourth of the year, about six hours ago.