Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Twins don't reward faithful who stuck around

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: September 15, 2013 - 12:30 AM

    Here's to the 1,000 or so fans who stuck out a two-hour rain delay and a temperature that dropped into the mid-50s. I admire your determination, because there was no reason to believe that the Twins would make it worthwhile.

    Four hits. Ten strikeouts. An offense made to look pathetic by a Rays bullpen that is deep, sure, but not as unhittable as the Twins made them appear. For this you waited in the rain?

    Ron Gardenhire sounded like a manager who wonders how much his team cares. He clearly wants to make life difficult for teams in the pennant race, but his players don't seem all that interested. Only twice all night did the Twins send more than four hitters to the plate in an inning, both times because Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore walked a batter.

    No Twin who played Saturday has a batting average above .300, and only Alex Presley, at .283, is above .250.

    Was there any redeeming feature to a game whose only mystery was whether they would get all nine innings in? Gardenhire found one: A couple of relievers who might contribute next year got some work, and looked effective. Shairon Martis pitched 1 2/3 innings, and while he allowed his first run as a Twin, it was only after he retired five Rays in a row, their longest hitless stretch of the night.

    Then Michael Tonkin relieved him, and also recorded five straight outs.  "He used a couple of breaking balls, which we're anxious to see," Gardenhire said of Tonkin, who figures to be in the Twins' bullpen next year. "He's got to be able to throw a breaking ball up here. He's got a big fastball, that's for sure."

    

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