A bad start out of break as Twins fall to Rays

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2014 - 1:01 AM

The Twins are unanimous: The 10-game homestand that started Friday night is pivotal. Momentous. Critical to their season, and perhaps their future.

The Rays don’t care about any of that. They’re too busy winning.

The Twins resumed their season Friday night with conviction, determination — and another loss, their sixth in the past eight home games, 6-2 to Tampa Bay. With the All-Star festivities finally over, Target Field returned to normal, and so did the Twins offense, going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They are batting .234 in those situations, next-to-last in the American League.

With so little help, Kyle Gibson needed to be almost perfect, and he wasn’t. The righthander recorded 16 outs on ground balls, but let nine hits slip in between them, two of them decisive, and the Twins fell seven games below .500.

“I would say this is an important time,” said General Manager Terry Ryan, who will determine whether any of the Twins’ modestly valuable assets are dealt away in the next dozen days. “It’s not going to make our season, but it’s certainly going to affect the trade deadline.”

That’s the fear in the clubhouse, too. Players believe they have enough talent, albeit underachieving, to climb into the playoff race. “They’re trying to keep this thing together. That’s a normal conversation after the All-Star break,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They don’t want to lose their teammates, and they know it goes down to how they play on the field. … But we’ve got to win baseball games.”

Trouble is, so do the Rays, and they are 9-4 in July. Gibson loaded the bases in the third inning without allowing a hard-hit ball — a soft liner, an infield grounder that could have been an inning-ending double play but bounced off the pitcher’s glove, and a walk. Evan Longoria then didn’t miss his opportunity. He slugged a 2-0 fastball just beyond Oswaldo Arcia’s awkward leap in right field, driving all three runners home.

“The tapper back to the mound is a double play if [Gibson] doesn’t tip it, but instincts tell you to try to catch the ball,” Gardenhire said. “That ball was probably going right to [Brian Dozier] for a double play.”

One minor fielding mistake, followed by one bad pitch — perhaps the difference between winning and losing.

Two innings later, a similar scenario. Kevin Kiermaier dribbled a ball in front of the plate, and Kurt Suzuki’s throw was late (which replays established when Tampa Bay challenged the out call). The 15-foot hit turned into a run when Ben Zobrist reached out for a 3-1 Gibson fastball and dropped it into the front row of the right-field overhang.

“Really, I just got beat by three or four pitches tonight,” said Gibson (8-8). “You can’t leave pitches over the middle.”

Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb (5-6) only made one similar mistake, trying to sneak a 2-1 changeup past Trevor Plouffe in the third inning. It landed in the left-field seats, a two-run shot that gave the Twins life, if only briefly. After that, it was back to the offensive doldrums that keep afflicting the Twins this season.

Not a great start to 10 days that could determine who is still here in August.

“I’m glad to hear they’re saying [they want to stay together], that’s good,” Ryan said. “They like what we’ve got, they like some of the talent, they think we’re headed in the right direction.”


  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Tampa Bay 6, Twins 2

    Friday July 18, 2014

  • Plouffe seeks consistency in middle of Twins lineup

    Friday July 18, 2014

    Plouffe has batted in the middle of the Twins lineup more than ever this year — he’s been the third hitter 46 times, and Friday was his fourth start in...

  • Postgame: Dozier's defense great, Arcia's less so

    Friday July 18, 2014

    After right fielder couldn't catch deep fly, second baseman prevented another run with great anticipation

  • Photo gallery: Tampa Bay 6, Twins 2

    Friday July 18, 2014

    The Rays beat the Twins 6-2 at Target Field on Friday.

  • Chart: Tracking the Twins’ 10-game homestand

    Saturday July 19, 2014

    We could know a lot more about these last-place Twins after this 10-game homestand. Will they remain in the basement?...

  • Friday's Twins-Tampa Bay game recap

    Friday July 18, 2014

    IMPACT PLAYEREvan Longoria, Tampa BayWith bases loaded in the third inning, the Rays star got ahead in the count 2-0,...

  • Kendrys Morales played first base in the Twins’ first game after the All-Star break, getting a single in his first at-bat. He was left stranded, a reocurring theme in the following eight innings for the Twins.

  • Kyle Gibson started out with two scoreless innings Friday night, but he was derailed by a three-run double by Evan Longoria and a two-run homer by Ben Zobrist.

  • From left, Tampa Bay’s Curt Casali, Zobrist and Desmond Jennings scored on Longoria’s bases-clearing double in the third inning.

  • Tampa Bay left fielder Zobrist high-fived teammates after the Rays won for the ninth time in 13 games this month.

  • Alex Cobb gave up a two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe in the third inning, but the Tampa Bay righthander mostly escaped trouble.

  • Twins left fielder Sam Fuld threw the ball back in after catching Kevin Kiermaier’s liner in the third inning, but Tampa Bay followed by loading the bases before Evan Longoria hit a three-run double.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 4th Qtr 0:11
Washington 101
Orlando 94 4th Qtr 2:55
Charlotte 86
Memphis 65 3rd Qtr 5:35
Miami 55
Indiana 50 2nd Qtr 0:27
Brooklyn 46
New Orleans 45 3rd Qtr
Chicago 49
Atlanta 21 2nd Qtr 12:00
Milwaukee 10
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
New York 9:00 PM
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 3rd Prd 11:44
Buffalo 1
Detroit 1 3rd Prd 16:05
Ottawa 2
Carolina 0 3rd Prd 13:30
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 3rd Prd 11:26
NY Rangers 2
Boston 2 3rd Prd 15:36
Columbus 5
Winnipeg 1 3rd Prd 18:11
Minnesota 1
Washington 1 2nd Prd 1:58
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 2 2nd Prd 17:06
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 0 2nd Prd 14:47
Nashville 1
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd 14:27
Arizona 1
Chicago 0 1st Prd 20:00
Colorado 0
Edmonton 9:00 PM
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
North Carolina 89
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 25 2nd Half 15:40
Western Ky 52
Tennessee St 21 1st Half 2:22
Tennessee 29
Kennesaw St 0 1st Half 20:00
Illinois 0
Colorado State 2 1st Half 17:40
New Mexico St 4
Portland 2 1st Half 17:13
San Diego 2
Wayland Baptist 2 1st Half 17:33
Utah State 6
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 0 1st Half 20:00
Utah Valley U 0
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 17 1st Qtr 0:10
(24) USC 10
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
(2) Connecticut 96
Houston 50
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 38 2nd Half 19:19
Portland 26
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question