In a game that went 13 innings, every run was a big one Wednesday for the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately for manager Ron Gardenhire’s club, it left too many men on base and missed too many opportunities to push across a run and it resulted in a 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The two teams combined to leave 24 runners on base, and it was the Rays who stranded the majority of those with 15. Still, Minnesota was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and had a few chances late in the game to do damage in those situations.
The last came in the top of the 13th when rookie Oswaldo Arcia struck out to end the inning with runners on first and third and two outs. Arcia also had a chance to drive in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th but grounded out with runners on second and third and two outs.
“He had a chance a couple times. He’s just swinging out of the zone,” Gardenhire said. “He was swinging a little crazy there. A young kid trying to do too much, trying to hit an eight-run homer with one guy out there. That’s all we need — is one guy — and he’s swinging like a mad man. The last time up, the ball wasn’t even in the zone. …
“He’s just getting a little out of whack. That’s what happens with kids. You’ve got to live with it. If you want to see him develop, you’re going to see some of that.”
Hitting with runners in scoring position has plagued the Twins for most of the year, including their recent 1-10 skid. Wednesday was no different, and it ended up costing them in a one-run, extra-innings loss.
“A lot of missed opportunities,” Gardenhire said.
Strikeouts abound in extra-innings marathon: The Minnesota Twins swung and missed at a lot of pitches Wednesday. So, too, did the Rays. In all, the teams combined for 35 strikeouts.
Twins batters struck out 19 times, easily a season high. The previous high was 15 in an 11-inning game against Boston on May 6. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s pitchers struck out 16 Rays batters, the most strikeouts for the Twins pitchers this year — three more than the previous season high of 13, which took place April 20 against the White Sox.
Every Twins player except for designated hitter Joe Mauer struck out in Wednesday’s game. Arcia struck out a team-high four times, better known as the “Golden Sombrero.” First baseman Justin Morneau went down on strikes three times, while five Twins batters struck out twice.
No Rays player struck out more than two times. Minnesota’s starting pitcher Kevin Correia picked up six of the 16 strikeouts for the Twins, while reliever Anthony Swarzak fanned four in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Hicks adds to highlight reel: Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks has already made a number of memorable catches during his rookie season, but the grab he made Wednesday may have been the most important one yet.
With a runner on first and two outs, Tampa Bay’s Kelly Johnson sent a deep drive to center field. Hicks kept an eye on the ball and jumped at the wall. Despite hitting his face on the wall’s padding, Hicks held on to make the catch and send the game to the 11th inning. With two outs, Wil Myers was running from first base on contact and likely would have scored had Hicks not robbed Johnson.
“A game saver,” Gardenhire said. “We were playing deep, trying to say no doubles. He was back there and made a great play.” FOX Sports North’s Kevin Gorg contributed to this report.