Twins starter Martin Perez gave the club a quality start on Thursday, but it hardly mattered because the Twins played 11 more innings after he stepped aside in the seventh.
Perez exited in a 2-2 tie, then watched as the team used nine relievers, including starter, Kyle Gibson, and lost 5-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays in 18 innings.
Reliever Ryne Harper spelled Gibson and served up three runs on three hits and a walk in the top of the 18th to fall to 3-1 on the season. The Twins still took two of three games from the Rays, but haven’t swept a team in a month. Their last three-game sweep came at home against the Chicago White Sox.
The Twins scored two runs in the first inning and the Rays followed with two in the second, then both teams went deep on their bullpens to try to earn the win.
The hits were few and far between in this one. The Twins scored two runs on nine hits and had only one extra-base hit, a double off the bat of Jorge Polanco. Rookie infielder, Luis Arraez, led the team with three hits. Max Kepler and Miguel Sano both had a forgettable day at the plate. Kepler was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts, while Sano struck out three times in seven at bats. At least Kepler has a .264 average to fall back on; Sano is now hitting .195.
Not that it mattered, but Perez had one of his best starts of the season. He struck out six over seven innings and allowed only two runs on three hits.
Jose Berrios gets the ball on Friday against the South Siders. It’s the Twins’ first visit to Guaranteed Rate Field this season.
-The Twins are 52-28.
-The injuries are piling up. Willians Astudillo has landed on the 10-day injured list, along with Marwin Gonzalez and Ehire Adrianza. Eddie Rosario, who leads the team with 20 home runs, is day-to-day with an ankle sprain, and Kepler, hit by a pitch on his elbow this week, was back in the lineup on Thursday. After going 0-for-8, perhaps he should’ve taken an extra day off.
-In La Tortuga’s place, the Twins have called up outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. Wade hit only .248 at Triple-A Rochester, but he has an on-base percentage of .393, which shows he has a knack for a getting a free pass to first base, otherwise known as a walk.
-Byron Buxton also has been injured, but is reportedly close to rejoining the team. The Twins could certainly use him.
-The Twins continue to stock up on relievers. In addition to minor league deals for Drew Hutchison, Ian Krol and Cody Allen, the Twins have added one more: Carlos Torres, previously of the Detroit Tigers.
According to MLB Trade Rumors:
Torres totaled six innings with the Tigers before they cut the cord on him, allowing five earned runs on nine hits (two home runs) with one walk against eight strikeouts. Also a former National, White Sox, Rockie, Met and Brewer, Torres has recorded a 4.09 ERA/4.23 FIP with 7.94 K/9, 3.41 BB/9 and a 44.3 percent groundball rate in 506 2/3 innings in the majors.
-Twins shortstop, Jorge Polanco, has been voted a starter on this year’s American League all-star team. Polanco deserves it. He has hit better than .300 for most of the season and currently is slashing .321/.379/.530.