Twins' feeble play continues

Tampa rallied for five runs in the sixth and seventh innings.

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ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. –

It doesn’t matter that he’s missing catcher Joe Mauer and second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka because of injuries. It doesn’t matter who’s on the mound for the Rays, or any other team lately, for that matter.

His team is not winning.

"We’re not accustomed to it,’’ Gardenhire said. "We’re not going to get accustomed to it. Whatever we have to do to get back on the right side, that is what we are going to try to do.’’

The right side is the left side — the win column. The Twins are 4-9, their worst 13-game start under Gardenhire by two games.

"I don’t care what time of year it is,’’ he said. "You all want to get off to a good start. Not everybody’s gonna. You been off to bad starts before, but ... I’ll never get used to that. I don’t care what time it is.’’

The Twins have lost three consecutive games and five of their past six. Their offense has scored at least four runs just four times in 13 games. On Friday, Gardenhire watched his offense struggle to get going and squander the couple of chances it had to build big innings. Then he addressed the club after the game.

"As I told the boys in there,’’ Gardenhire said, "this game doesn’t give you anything. You have to take it. We need to start taking a little more than we are giving.’’

The Twins managed only two runs on four hits, including one double — against Rays righthander Wade Davis and five relievers, with Kyle Farnsworth getting the save.

The Twins left two runners on in the second inning. Denard Span singled in the third and was picked off of first base. After Danny Valencia’s one-out RBI double in the fifth, Drew Butera flied out and Span popped out to end the threat.

"It’s frustrating to lose,’’ Span said. "Nobody likes to lose. [Gardenhire] is right in what he is saying. We have to come out here and stop waiting for things to happen. We have to make things happen. Go out there and be aggressive. It seems like everyone is kind of stagnant. We have to go out there with a little more fire and take the game. We’re waiting for things to happen.’’

Mauer will be out of the lineup for at least two weeks. Nishioka will be out of action for another month or so. But Span said they should be used to winning without key players.

"We miss them, but we have to go on,’’ Span said. "We have to play the game. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us because those two are not in our lineup. No question we’re better with them, but we have enough talent to where guys can step up and get the job done."

Nick Blackburn tried to turn things around on Friday, pitching impressively for five innings. But the Rays figured him out and scored five runs over the next two innings to assume control.

Gardenhire is concerned that his pitchers have little room for error because there’s so little offense.

"I know I keep saying this, and it can’t go on for too long.’’ Blackburn said, "but I feel like we are pretty close. I have confidence in this team. We’re not going to be a team you can write off early.’’

 

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