Box score here
AP game story here
Here's the recipe for this loss: Combine another short start with a handful of lousy relief outings, mix in a baserunning blunder and top it off with a flukey hit.
Short start: Scott Baker went just five innings, 106 pitches and nine baserunners.
Lousy relief outings: Bobby Keppel continued his recent streak of living down to my expectations, falling behind all four hitters he faced in the sixth inning and giving up a run.
Joe Nathan coughed up a two-run lead in the ninth, burning through 29 pitches in the process.
And Jesse Crain — the last man standing in the bullpen, because R.A. Dickey and Brian Duensing had been abused in Wednesday's fiasco in Oakland — picked up in the 10th inning where he left off before his demotion to take the loss.
It wasn't as if Nathan was getting shelled — the first hit he gave up was off the end of the bat, and the second (shown above) was a piddly grounder that hit the second base bag and bounced away from Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla. That flukey hit tied the score.
But he walked the leadoff man, hit another and threw 13 balls to 16 strikes, which is not a winning ratio.
For that matter, both Keppel and Crain threw seven strikes and six balls.
Baserunning blunder: The Twins had Carlos Gomez on second, Denard Span on first with two outs in the eighth. Joe Mauer singled to left center. Span, for some reason, decided to go to third, and center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. easily threw him out. A silly play by Span, since Matthews was headed in the direction of his throw. The out meant Justin Morneau didn't get to hit that inning.
What went well Thursday for the Twins:
* Jose Mijares and Matt Guerrier combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the lead to Nathan. Guerrier threw 11 pitches, 10 of them strikes — something the other guys should have tried.
* Jason Kubel hit a two-run jack in the first.
*Mauer went 3 for 4 with a walk, two runs, two RBIs and a double. He's now hitting .363 and is back atop the AL batting averages.
*Punto got a hit, snapping a 0-for-13 slide. (Casilla, on the other hand, went hitless again and is now hitting .168.)
On the injury front: Glen Perkins is said to have a mild case of tendinitis in his shoulder and is expected to pitch Monday after all. And Joe Crede had an injection in his sore shoulder and is to be re-evaluated Sunday. For now, at least, he's not headed to the disabled list.