Twins edged by Rays 1-0
The Rays finally found a way to beat the Twins on Thursday afternoon: just don't let them score. Eventually, that worked, but it wasn't until the top of the ninth inning that the Rays pushed across the game's lone run, winning 1-0.
It didn't have to be that way. The Twins threatened in the first inning, when Denard Span singled and then nabbed his first of two stolen bases. Trevor Plouffe then coaxed a walk for an early scoring opportunity. But on a 3-1 pitch, Joe Mauer lined weakly to left field which held the runners. Justin Morneau flew to center and Josh Willingham grounded to shortstop and then early rally was stifled.
Twins pitchers nearly matched the Rays. Francisco Liriano threw the first three innings, striking out five and walking none, while giving up just one hit. Liam Hendricks, Scott Diamond and Daryl Thompson then worked scoreless inning. Jeff Manship struck out the side in the seventh inning. Brendan Wise got the Twins through the eighth inning.
Twins pitcher Carlos Gutierrez started the ninth inning with a strikeout and ground out, but walked Hak-Ju Lee on four pitches. Lee then stole second. Gutierrez still should have got out of the inning, but Luke Hughes, who was playing his first game since rehabbing a shoulder injury, had a throwing error that plated Lee and kept the inning alive.