Twins have no answer for Price in loss to Tampa Bay

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 20, 2014 - 12:20 AM

The Rays lefthander, on the trading block, blanked the Twins for eight innings.

Available for trade: One All-Star pitcher, lefthanded, Cy Young Award winner, hasn’t given up a run in 16 innings, or more than three in the past two months. Contact the Minnesota Twins for references.

David Price, reportedly being shopped around by the Rays as the trade deadline approaches, crushed the Twins’ back-in-the-race ambitions Saturday, ruthlessly limiting them to four hits over eight scoreless innings as Tampa Bay cruised to a 5-1 victory at Target Field.

“When he can throw most of his pitches for strikes, mix in-and-out, get ahead of guys like he did today, he’s tough,” said Trevor Plouffe, whose first-inning double made him one of only two Twins to reach second base while Price was in. “He’s one of the best pitchers in the game.”

The Twins pointed to this 10-game homestand as their chance to take a stand against another lost summer, but Tampa Bay’s pitching is making that stand look more like a cross-your-fingers fantasy. The Twins went 11 consecutive innings without touching third base, something that the Rays allowed only once Price was watching from the dugout.

Phil Hughes, meanwhile, gave up 11 hits and five runs over seven innings in his second-half debut, absorbing the loss as the last-place Twins fell behind two more teams, Boston and these Rays, in an increasingly futile wild-card chase. They are 10 games out of the division race and 7½ games behind the last playoff team, and they have seven teams to climb over to get there.

“It’s a little disappointing, but there’s a lot of season left, a lot of games at home,” Hughes said gamely. “It starts tomorrow.”

Well, at least Price doesn’t. The All-Star, about to get too expensive for the small-budget Rays, has won five consecutive games amid where’s-he-headed hysteria, and he was in utter control against the Twins, striking out nine — including rookie Danny Santana four times.

“Price was unbelievable. He had great stuff,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Say, wouldn’t he like to manage such a dominating lefthander once more?

“You should walk right up to [General Manager Terry Ryan’s] office and tell him that,” Gardenhire said, laughing at the notion. “He’s available for a steep price.”

True. It would take one of the Twins’ very best prospects just to pry him away from the Rays — think Buxton, Sano, Meyer or Stewart — then about $18 million to cover next season, followed by a commitment of, oh, about $175 million or so to keep him from becoming a free agent 15 months from now.

Sounds like a good idea to Plouffe. “I don’t think any team would pass on him,” he said, though that’s coming from someone who doesn’t sign the checks.

OK, maybe it’s a fantasy for the modest-budget Twins, just like their charge to the AL Central crown is turning out to be. Just as their chances of beating Price (10-7) on a night when Hughes (10-6) didn’t have his best stuff turned out to be.

The Twins turned five double plays, four of them to support Hughes — “I don’t think I had four double plays all last year,” said the notorious fly-ball pitcher. But when he gave up four hits in the second inning, including Sean Rodriguez’s two-run homer that gave the Rays a 3-0 lead, it felt more like 30-0.

“You’ve got to try and match him as best you can,” Hughes said, “and after that home run … your heart sinks.”

Twins fans know the feeling.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Tampa Bay 5, Twins 1

    Saturday July 19, 2014

    David Price was dominant picking up his 10th victory for the Rays, striking out nine Twins batters in eight...

  • BOXSCORE: Tampa Bay 5, Twins 1

    Saturday July 19, 2014

  • Souhan: More Latin American baseball talent? Bring 'em on

    Sunday July 20, 2014

    A dazzling All-Star week showed off baseball’s wealth of Latin talent.

  • Scoggins: Twins' Nolasco is the nowhere man right now

    Saturday July 19, 2014

    An elbow injury has made it difficult for him to pitch, and also to feel that he is a part of...

  • Injured Mauer takes small steps towards returning to Twins

    Sunday July 20, 2014

    Joe Mauer’s light workout Saturday was an excellent sign the Twins' first baseman is on track in his rehab from an oblique strain.

  • Postgame: Dozier was planning to throw home

    Saturday July 19, 2014

    Defense and bullpen have been strong, but it doesn't mean much if offense continues to slumber

  • Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

  • Phil Hughes threw well early vs. the Rays Saturday night, but the Twins trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning at deadline of this edition.

  • Brian Dozier retired Brandon Guyer at second and turned the first of five double plays, but it did the Twins little good Saturday night.

  • TAMPA BAY 5, Twins 1

    Up next: 1:10 p.m. today vs. Tampa Bay • Target Field • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Memphis
Boston 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 6:00 PM
American Univ
Wright State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Syracuse 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Delaware State 6:00 PM
NC Central
High Point 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Howard 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 6:30 PM
NC A&T
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Hampton 6:30 PM
SC State
Gardner-Webb 7:00 PM
Campbell
MD-Eastern Shore 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Savannah State
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
McNeese State 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Milwaukee 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 70 2nd Half 7:58
Wagner 55
Delaware State 49 2nd Half 3:48
NC Central 56
Howard 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 2 1st Half 17:39
NC A&T 0
Hampton 0 1st Half 18:45
SC State 3
Norfolk State 4:45 PM
Savannah State
MD-Eastern Shore 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Samford 5:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
Prairie View 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 5:30 PM
Alabama State
Texas Southern 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
(12) Texas A&M 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
Furman
Morehead St 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Illinois 6:00 PM
Michigan
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
Auburn
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa
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 optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close