Twins lose for 11th time in last 12 games
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Too much Matt Moore, not enough contact and another loss for the Minnesota Twins.
Moore earned his 13th win on the day he was added to the American League All-Star team, and the Tampa Bay Rays completed a four-game sweep of the Twins, 4-3 Thursday.
Luke Scott and Evan Longoria broke a 1-all tie with consecutive home runs off Mike Pelfrey in the sixth inning, sending the Twins to their 11th loss in 12 games.
“When we tied it up, I figured here’s my chance to keep us in this game, and I go out and give up the two home runs,” Pelfrey said.
Pelfrey (4-7) gave up three runs in six innings.
“That’s how you ruin a good day. My stuff was good and I made bad pitches. That’s what happens,” he said.
Moore (13-3) allowed three runs, three hits and two walks while striking out 10 over 7 1-3 innings, winning his fifth straight start and setting a team record for victories before the All-Star break.
At the end of a frustrating series, manager Ron Gardenhire was most frustrated by all the whiffs.
“Moore was really good with filthy stuff, and all the (relievers) they brought out threw the ball really well,” Gardenhire said. “But we’ve still got to put the ball in play better than we did the last couple of days, and that really affected the outcomes of games.”
After striking out 19 times in Wednesday night’s 13-inning loss, the Twins struck out 13 times Thursday and 43 times in the four-game series.
Two of the runs charged to Moore scored when reliever Alex Torres gave up a two-run single in the eighth to Joe Mauer that cut the Twins’ deficit to 4-3. Jake McGee got his first save pitching a scoreless ninth.
Brian Dozier got the Twins’ first hit off Moore when he lined a double with two outs in the sixth down the left-field line. Dozier then scored to tie it at 1 on Jamey Carroll’s run-scoring single.
The highlight for Minnesota was the major league debut of right-hander Michael Tonkin, who came in with two men on base and struck out Longoria to end the seventh.
“It’s the kind of situation you want to be in, I guess,” the 23-year-old Tonkin said. “You want the tough ones. It was pretty cool for the first guy I faced to be Longoria. That’s kind of exciting, a little memorable.”
The series was not one most of the Twins will choose to remember.
“We’re all in here to win and we haven’t been doing that,” Pelfrey said. “We have to find a way to keep it loose in here and continue to have fun. It’s tough when you’re not doing it, but if we don’t find a way, this long season will get a lot longer.”
A number of regulars, including Tampa Bay’s Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar, along with Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit, were not in the starting lineups after Wednesday night’s game, which ended one minute before midnight.
Notes: The Twins have been swept five times this season in series of three games or more. They have lost nine straight against the Rays. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb, struck in the right ear by a liner hit by Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on June 15, underwent a concussion test Wednesday and feels the results will be positive. He could throw batting practice for the first since getting hurt Sunday. ... The Twins placed LHP Caleb Thielbar on the bereavement list and recalled Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester. It was announced Tuesday that Thielbar would be leaving the team following the death of his grandmother.