La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins postgame: Seven solid innings, then disaster.

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 5, 2013 - 4:57 PM

The Twins led 5-2 through seven innings on Tuesday. They got a few big hits. They flashed plenty of leather. Liam Hendriks pitched well despite a shaky second inning.

Then things fell apart in the eighth as the Rays scored five runs off Tim Wood en route to a 8-5. Wood struggled with command, but the Rays stole three bases on him. Wood, if you remember, was timed at 1.8 seconds to home plate, which is very slow. He's been working on speeding up his delivery but it didn't help on Tuesday.

``Woody couldn't hold runners,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``He was too slow to home. They were running all over him. He got his work in but those are the things we are looking for, to see what you can do when you are out there. He had a rough day. He'll bounce back in a couple days. We'll give him the ball again.''

The Rays then stole one more base in the ninth with Tyler Robertson on the mound. Brandon Guyer stole home on the play as Cole Figuerora started the play by taking off for second and drawing the Twins' attention long enough for Guyer to take off for home.

Hendriks was charged with two runs in the second inning, but one scored when Josh Willingham lost a fly ball in the sun and the other scored after home plate ump Bob Davidson blew what would have been an inning-ending strike three. That allowed Jose Lobaton to bat and hit a RBI single.

Other stuff

Outfielder Darin Mastroianni (left hamstring) ran and hit off of a tee before Tuesday's game and hopes to take batting practice on Wednesday. Mastroianni hasn't played since Thursday. ``If it was the regular season, I would have missed one day,'' he said.

Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia took some swings on Tuesday and he recovers from a intercostal muscle strain. He has yet to play in a game this spring.

Righthander Anthony Swarzak continues to play catch as he works his way back from a couple cracked ribs suffered during horseplay around TwinsFest, but the club remains unsure of when he’ll start throwing in the bullpen. Without Swarzak the Twins will have to identify someone to be the innings-eater out of the bullpen.

Australia has been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, so infielder James Beresford should be headed back to camp soon. That still leaves 12 players from the organization away for the tournament and Gardenhire isn't’t looking forward to Thursday’s scheduled split-squad games down that many players.

 

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