Nice try isn't enough for Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 10, 2011 - 8:03 AM

With a limited roster, Ron Gardenhire did what he could to generate a needed run, but it went for naught in an 11-inning loss.

view larger photos

  

 

BOSTON –

 

Like a football coach who goes for it on fourth down, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire weighed all the factors Monday night and decided to take his chances.

Jason Kubel’s two-out single off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had just scored Denard Span with the Twins’ first run, tying the score in the eighth inning at Fenway Park.

With Justin Morneau at the plate, Gardenhire inserted Alexi Casilla as a pinch runner, removing Kubel from the game.

"We’re going to steal second base there," Gardenhire said after his team’s 2-1, 11-inning loss to end a nine-game road trip. "We had a chance to win the game. With the way the pitching’s going, there’s no question we were going to run for Kubel there."

The Twins knew Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek have had a hard time holding runners, and Casilla got his stolen base, moving into scoring position.

But Papelbon fanned Mor­neau to halt that threat, and two innings later, the .177-hitting Casilla came up in a key spot instead of the .347-hitting Kubel.

That time, the Twins had runners at first and second with one out against Boston lefthander Hideki Okajima, but Matt Tolbert struck out (dropping his average to .164), and Casilla grounded out to end the inning.

The Twins also left two runners on against Okajima in the 11th inning, and Boston finally ended it in the bottom half, when Carl Crawford doubled off the Green Monster against Twins reliever Jim Hoey, scoring pinch runner Jose Iglesias from first.

The Twins finished 3-6 on an 11-day trip that started at Kansas City and Chicago and ended with three consecutive losses.

"We had however many innings to knock in another run and just didn’t get it done," said Gardenhire, who got ejected for arguing a disputed foul tip call on Danny Valencia by plate umpire Joe West in the ninth inning. "We just haven’t been swinging. That continued again tonight."

With the lowest-scoring offense in the American League, and with numerous questions about his relief core beyond Glen Perkins (who already had entered the game), Gardenhire knew there might not be many chances after the eighth inning.

Morneau finished 2-for-5, raising his average to .212. He had a single in the 11th that came three innings too late.

When teams aren’t scoring, decisions are magnified, and this game was filled with strategy intrigue.

The only run Boston scored off Nick Blackburn came in the fifth. With two outs and a runner on third, pitching coach Rick Anderson made a visit to the mound. Lefthanded-hitting Adrian Gon­zalez was coming to the plate with righthanded-hitting cleanup man Kevin Youkilis on deck.

"The fact there’s an open base, and [Gonzalez is] their best hitter in the lineup — obviously we like our chances with someone else other than him," Blackburn said. "So I had full intentions of pitching around him and didn’t execute."

Blackburn tried getting his first pitch to the dirt but left it belt-high, and Gonzalez lined an RBI single to left field.

The Red Sox faced a similar dilemma in the eighth, when they were still clinging to a 1-0 lead. The Twins had a runner on second, two outs and Kubel at the plate with Morneau on deck.

Boston manager Terry Francona summoned closer Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched to Kubel. Papelbon quickly got two strikes, but Kubel stayed alive before looping his game-tying single.

"That was heck of a ballgame," Gardenhire said. "In this ballpark, to have a 1-1 game going to extra innings is pretty amazing, to tell you the truth, and says a lot about both pitching staffs."

But the loss dropped the Twins (12-21) back to nine games under .500.

 

By JOE CHRISTENSEN

jchristensen@startribune.com

  • BOSTON 2, TWINS 1 (11)

    Up next: Two-game series vs. Detroit • Game 1, 7:10 tonight • Target Field • TV: FSN (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final(10)2345678910RHE
Minnesota «00201000611140
Kansas City0011010005121
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:A.Swarzak(3-1) L:B.Chen(2-4)
HR: MIN- None KAN- A.Gordon (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close