Twins lose to Rays in 10 innings
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins' late-inning bullpen failures spoiled the story Thursday night, as Delmon Young turned in a big game against his former team.
Young hit an RBI single, threw out a runner at home plate and smashed a game-tying homer in the seventh inning as the Twins and Rays slugged it out before another sellout crowd at Target Field.
Jason Kubel's sacrifice fly gave the Twins an eighth-inning lead, but Tampa Bay tied it with two outs in the ninth against closer Jon Rauch and won, 5-4, in the 10th on Willy Aybar's RBI single off Matt Guerrier.
"Our bullpen's been very good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Tonight we had a couple that didn't get it done, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
Rauch blew his fourth save in 21 chances and second in a row. He retired the first two batters in the ninth, but the speedy Carl Crawford singled and scored on Evan Longoria's double down the left field line.
"I got beat today," Rauch said. "I thought I made good quality pitches. The pitch to Crawford was exactly where we wanted it, and he got the end of the bat on it, hit it up the middle. And the pitch to Longoria was a pitch that I thought hit the spot I needed, and I got beat. Sometimes that happens."
Gardenhire was ejected in the 10th inning for arguing with umpire Alfonso Marquez after a play at third base. Replays showed third baseman Michael Cuddyer tagging Kelly Shoppach on the jersey, but Marquez didn't see it that way.
The call proved inconsequential, as Tampa Bay already had scored the go-ahead run and Shoppach couldn't score after landing on third base with no outs. But it added to the Twins' postgame frustration.
"He said I missed the tag," Cuddyer said. "I felt like I tagged his jersey, the replays showed I tagged his jersey. I don't know what else to say."
Young wasn't in a talkative mood either, even after taking over the team lead with 53 RBI. It has been 2½ seasons since the Twins acquired Young in a six-player deal that sent Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to Tampa Bay.
Bartlett batted .320 last year but has slumped to .220 this year. Garza is 9-5 with a 4.08 ERA.
Meanwhile, at age 24, Young is becoming the left fielder the Twins thought he could be. He has 37 RBI in his past 37 games.
"You can see that he's maturing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm certain that's what's going on. He's a wonderful young man, and I am happy for him. I'd just like him to take it easy the next few days. He looks really good. He's in great shape. He's turning into the baseball player he can be."
Asked if it added any satisfaction to fare well against his former team, Young said: "No, not really. It wasn't like the trade happened yesterday."
Twins starter Carl Pavano blamed himself after holding the Rays to three runs (two earned) in 6u2153 innings. He was upset that Tampa Bay scored its first two runs with two outs.
"You can point your finger at Jon (Rauch) — he gave up that one run — but early in the game, it's my job to close the inning with two outs, and I couldn't do that, and it cost us the game tonight," Pavano said.