Painfully long day of baseball ends with two losses for Twins
MAY 02, 2014 1:30a ET
It figures that the 12-inning marathon was the second of Thursday's two games in the day-night doubleheader, ending at 11:22 p.m. CT. It lasted a whopping five hours, 11 minutes, setting a new record as the longest game in Target Field history. The previous record was 4:47 back on Sept. 2, 2010 against Detroit.
And for all the baseball that was played Thursday, the Twins had nothing but two losses to show for it. After dropping the first game of the doubleheader 9-4, Minnesota lost the night cap by a 4-3 final more than five hours after Kris Johnson threw the game's first pitch.
"This ends a long day, a long frustrating day of not getting a win out of one of these two," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Minnesota had its chance to steal a win in the bottom of the 12th inning Thursday. Trailing 4-2, the Twins loaded the bases with nobody out after Brian Dozier drew a walk against Los Angeles reliever Kenley Jansen. Joe Mauer followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Jason Kubel from third to trim the deficit to one.
But Trevor Plouffe flew out to right, and Chris Colabello's sharply-hit liner went right into the glove of Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to finally put an end to a game that seemingly took an eternity.
The Twins had runners on second and third, and Colabello -- the team's RBI leader -- nearly was the hero at the end of a long day. Instead, Minnesota wound up getting swept in the three-game series and lost a pair of games Thursday after playing eight hours and 12 minutes of baseball.
"It's a long day, obviously, but you always have to think the other team's out there, too, going through the same thing," Colabello said. "Sometimes you use stuff like that to your advantage. You just try to compete, try to battle, grind it out. I'm sure a lot of guys' legs weren't under them. As the game moved on, some sore bodies. But it would have been nice to get a win there."
Several factors contributed to the plodding pace of Thursday's second game. There were plenty of pitching changes made; the Twins and Dodgers used a combined 14 pitchers, and neither starter made it through five innings. That left both bullpens busy as they were each responsible for more than seven innings of work.
On top of that, both squads' pitchers struggled to find the strike zone. Los Angeles walked seven Twins hitters, while Minnesota's pitchers walked 12 Dodgers batters -- including six by Johnson in 4 1/3 innings of work. The 12 walks by Twins pitchers were the most they'd allowed in a game since walking 12 on April 29, 1988 against Boston.
Twins starter Mike Pelfrey went just four innings in the first game Thursday, so Johnson knew he'd need to go deep to help bail out Minnesota's bullpen. After tossing 106 pitches in just 4 â innings, that didn't happen.
"A starter's job no matter what is to get as deep as possible in the game," said Johnson, who made his Twins debut and just his second career start. "That's where I think I failed. Going 4 1/3 is unacceptable, especially at this level."
Both teams had their chances to score runs throughout the course of the 12-inning game. Los Angeles left 16 runners on base and was just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The Twins didn't fare any better in that department, leaving 10 runners on base and going just 1-for-10 with RISP.
One hit in those situations during the first nine innings might have spared everyone from extras -- and at least an hour. Instead, history was made. Los Angeles got solo home runs in the 12th inning from Scott Van Slyke and former Twins catcher Drew Butera, whose sixth career homer stood as the difference in the Dodgers' 4-3 win.
The Twins sent Johnson -- called up as the 26th man for the doubleheader -- back to Triple-A Rochester after the game. Minnesota may also have to do something with center fielder Aaron Hicks, who left the second game with concussion-like symptoms after crashing into the wall while trying to make a catch.
There's a good chance Minnesota will call up another player after burning through the bullpen during what proved to be a long, crazy day Thursday.
"We're working on that process," Gardenhire said. "Right now we're in dire need of pitching, so we're working on that part of it. We just don't have much pitching for the next couple days -- or players off the bench. So we'll do the best we can and try to figure it out and go from there."
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