The Twins finally beat the Tampa Bay Rays this season, getting a 3-2 win over the Florida club Tuesday night after being swept by them in early June and dropping Monday’s game 7-4.
The win was a product of a much improved effort from the Twins bullpen.
Starter Joe Ryan was not sharp, tossing 102 pitches in four-plus innings. Despite the lack of command, Ryan escaped allowing only two runs. The bullpen did him one better though by allowing only one hit the rest of the way. The win went to rookie Louie Varland, the save to Jhoan Duran, his 26th.
Dallas Keuchel gets the ball for Wednesday’s rubber match.
Extra innings …
-Ex-Twin Zack Littell was on the bump for the Rays on Tuesday and he looked pretty good, striking out eight over seven innings.
-The Twins are 76-69 and still have a 7.5 game lead on the Cleveland Guardians who are 3-7 in their last 10 games. It’s good to see the Twins win again because I would hate to see them lose their way to an AL Central title.
-It’s also good to see them win again because the Twins were a mess in Monday’s 7-4 loss.
The game went off the rails almost immediately. Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers got tagged with a passed ball, Carlos Correa made a rare error at shortstop and starter Sonny Gray, like Ryan on Tuesday, lacked command and tossed 89 pitches in four innings. He also uncorked two wild pitches and hit a batter twice.
To make matters worse, reliever Dylan Floro served up a home run, Brent Headrick did the same (frankly, I’m not sure what the Twins see in Headrick) and Josh Winder walked three batters during the final five outs of the game. Not a very good showing by the Twins.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli agreed.
“We were probably a little ways away from really winning that game,” Baldelli told MLB.com. “We played some good baseball recently, and today — not that we couldn’t get anything rolling — [but] we made some mistakes, we couldn’t capitalize on a couple of opportunities. I think it’s a good day to forget.”