The Rays' season started off similarly, as they held sole possession of the AL East lead from April 19 to June 12. Then Tampa Bay went on a bit of a skid, slipping as far as three games back of the Yankees. However, the Rays heated up in July -- winning 10 of their last 11 games (since July 24) and 23 of their last 30 (since June 30) -- and they held the division lead alone again after Tuesday's 6-4 win over the Twins.Some of Minnesota's problems can be traced to players getting injured left and right -- Orlando Hudson and Justin Morneau continue to be out of the lineup, causing Michael Cuddyer to play first and Alexi Casilla to take over at second. Nick Punto is on the 15-day disabled list, and Joe Mauer missed Sunday and Monday's games after a cortisone shot. "It's sink or swim. A guy goes down, and you have to go out and play," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The lineup, hopefully, is not built around one guy. Your success shouldn't be built around one person. It's a whole unit here. We talk about that over and over again, and people have to step up and play. Fortunately for us, we've got people who will do anything." Some of those players who have stepped up are Jason Repko, Trevor Plouffe and Danny Valencia, to name a few. "You ask Michael Cuddyer and guys like that, and they'll move anywhere and try anything," Gardenhire said. "You're fortunate enough as a manager to have those types of players and some pretty talented kids that we've drafted who can come up here and do their jobs. We've got a little depth, and definitely it's been tested with Morney out and Hudson, Nicky and Mauer. It gets tested, but still, it's a tribute to the little bit of depth we do have." That depth brought the eight-game winning streak, the Twins' longest of the season, which ended Monday against the Rays. And the up-and-down season continues.
Twins: Bad week for streaks
Minnesota's loss on Monday also halted Carl Pavano's 10-game start without a loss. He went 8-0 in that time. Left fielder Delmon Young snapped a 12-game hitting streak in Tuesday's loss. He had gone 25-for-52 with a .481 average, three home runs, six doubles and one triple in that span. He is batting .334 this season. Although Cuddyer's career-high hit streak came to an end in Sunday's win against Seattle, he has reached base safely in 27 consecutive games dating back to July 3 thanks to walks. In those games he has batted .318 (34-for-107) with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs, 13 walks and 12 RBIs.
Rays: Trivia time for Hellickson
Despite Jeremy Hellickson's win in his Major League debut on Monday, he was optioned back to Triple-A Durham. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hellickson is the first pitcher to beat a team with at least an eight-game win streak in his Major League debut since Randy Sterling did so with the 1974 Mets. Sterling stopped an eight-game Expos streak in what would be his only win in his three game Major League career. With an open roster spot, the Rays selected left-handed first baseman Dan Johnson from Durham. Johnson, who turns 31 next week, was leading the International League with 30 home runs, 95 RBIs, 75 walks, a .430 on-base percentage and a .624 slugging percentage.
Scott Baker and David Price will face off in the third game of a four-game series on Wednesday. Baker improved his record to .500 on the season with a win over Seattle on Friday. He gave up three runs off seven hits in his 5 1/3-inning outing. Price holds the AL lead with his 14 wins, which also ties him for the Rays' single-season record. He'll be aiming to better the mark, which is shared by Rolando Arrojo (1998) and James Shields and Edwin Jackson, who both won 14 in 2008. ... Price struck out nine batters in his last outing against Detroit. ... A special Matt Garza poster including a replica lineup card from his July 26 no-hitter against the Tigers was given to the first 10,000 fans at Tuesday's game against the Twins. ... Tampa Bay (67-39) has held the best record in baseball for 64 games this season, 24 more than its first 12 years in the league combined ... Jason Bartlett and Rafael Soriano will visit the All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg from 11 a.m. to noon ET Wednesday.
Wed, 8/4 7:10 PM ET
Young and the restless: Twins outlast Rays
Twins starter Scott Baker outdueled the Rays' David Price, and after new closer Matt Capps served up the tying run in the ninth, Delmon Young came to the rescue in the 13th with the game-winning hit for Minnesota.
|Casilla, A, 2B||5||1||1||0||1||0||1||.256|
|Young, D, LF||6||0||2||1||0||3||2||.330|
|a-Morales, J, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Johnson, D, DH||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.167|
|Upton, B, CF||5||0||0||0||0||2||2||.232|
|Rodriguez, S, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.255|
1-Ran for Johnson, D in the 9th.
2B: Repko (4, Price), Hardy 2 (12, Wheeler, Cormier).
TB: Casilla, A; Mauer; Young, D 2; Valencia 2; Repko 2; Hardy 4; Butera.
RBI: Repko (5), Young, D (82).
2-out RBI: Repko.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Hardy; Repko; Butera 2; Cuddyer 2; Span; Kubel.
Team RISP: 1-for-14.
Team LOB: 11.
2B: Zobrist (19, Baker, S), Jaso (12, Baker, S), Crawford (24, Baker, S), Longoria (32, Capps).
TB: Zobrist 2; Crawford 2; Longoria 2; Johnson, D; Jaso 2.
RBI: Johnson, D (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Johnson, D; Bartlett; Joyce; Longoria.
Team RISP: 1-for-11.
Team LOB: 8.
PB: Jaso (5).
DP: (Longoria-Rodriguez, S).
Pitches-strikes: Baker, S 105-70, Capps 13-10, Crain 19-8, Mijares, Jo 9-6, Guerrier 23-16, Price 119-83, Choate 16-7, Qualls 10-6, Wheeler 11-8, Cormier 59-39.
Groundouts-flyouts: Baker, S 5-8, Capps 0-1, Crain 1-2, Mijares, Jo 1-1, Guerrier 4-0, Price 8-2, Choate 1-0, Qualls 1-1, Wheeler 2-0, Cormier 4-3.
Batters faced: Baker, S 29, Capps 5, Crain 5, Mijares, Jo 3, Guerrier 6, Price 27, Choate 3, Qualls 2, Wheeler 4, Cormier 16.
Inherited runners-scored: Qualls 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Phil Cuzzi. 1B: Chris Guccione. 2B: Brian O'Nora. 3B: Jerry Crawford.
Weather: 72 degrees, dome.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media