Twins 7, Rays 0
As Danny Valencia’s three-run homer barely reached the seats in
left field to give the Minnesota Twins a 7-0 lead in the eighth
inning, Brian Duensing was worried his chances for a second career
shutout left the ballpark with it.
He lobbied briefly to stay in the game, and that was enough for
Duensing overcame a shaky start to throw a six-hitter and
Valencia had three hits and three RBIs to help the Twins beat the
Tampa Bay Rays 7-0 on Monday.
”He said, ‘I’m going back out there,”’ Gardenhire said.
”There was no question about it. He was going back out, which was
kind of neat. And we were going to let him.”
Duensing (6-7) struck out seven and walked four for his second
career shutout, throwing a career-high 119 pitches to give
struggling closer Matt Capps the day off.
David Price (8-7) gave up four runs on five hits with six
strikeouts in six innings for the Rays.
Michael Cuddyer added a solo homer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka had a
two-run double for the Twins. Capps blew a three-run lead on
Saturday and had to be pulled from the game in the ninth on
Casey Kotchman and Sean Rodriguez each had two hits for
Duensing walked a tightrope early in the game, getting hit hard
by the Rays but taking advantage of some good defense keep Tampa
Bay off the board.
”Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” he said.
Tampa loaded the bases in the first inning before Justin
Ruggiano bounced into an inning-ending double play. Kelly Shoppach
did the same after a leadoff single from Kotchman in the second and
Cuddyer and Alexi Casilla both made nifty plays in the fourth
Cuddyer, who is headed to his first All-Star game, made a
leaping catch at the right field wall to take away an extra-base
hit from Ruggiano and Casilla made a diving stop to get Matt Joyce
and strand two runners on base. Duensing pumped his fist and
slapped Casilla on the rear as they headed to the dugout, and he
cruised from there.
The lefty retired 15 of the final 16 hitters he faced.
”It didn’t start as well as I wanted it to,” Duensing said.
”But the defense made some unbelievable plays that kept me in it.
Next thing you know we’re putting across runs against David
It was the kind of outing many expected to see from Price
against the injury plagued Twins lineup manager Ron Gardenhire
trotted out there. Only two hitters started the day with a batting
average better than .244, and the bottom third featured
lightweights Jason Repko (.230), Matt Tolbert (.186) and Nishioka
The trio proved to be a lot more formidable than expected the
first time through the order. Repko singled, Tolbert walked and
Nishioka hit a two-run double to right field to open the
A scary moment occurred in the third inning, when Joe Mauer’s
bat splintered on a dribbler back to Price. The barrel slammed into
home plate umpire Paul Emmel’s right leg on the follow through,
causing Mauer to turn and look as he trotted down the first base
Trainers rushed to Emmel’s aid, but after a few minutes the
umpire remained in the game without missing a pitch.
Cuddyer hit the next offering from Price an estimated 443 feet
into the second deck in left field, giving the Twins a 4-0
”It’s a pretty big confidence booster,” said Duensing, who had
given up 14 earned runs in his previous four starts. ”I haven’t
been doing very well lately and I know that. My numbers haven’t
been good and I haven’t gone real deep in a game, really. This is a
Valencia took all suspense out of the game when he hit a
three-run homer off Adam Russell in the eighth inning. He also had
a double and is 6 for 7 with two walks in his career against
”I thought we hit some balls well, then by about the fifth or
the sixth inning he settled in,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ”I
thought we were swinging the bats good. I thought we had a
legitimate shot. It just went away.”
NOTES: Rays OF Ben Zobrist missed the game because of illness.
… The Twins said OF Jason Kubel (sprained foot) was still having
discomfort while running so he was going to return to the Twin
Cities for further examination on Tuesday.