Boxscore won't reflect it, but Slowey dominant in 8-6 catwalk win over Rays
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The Minnesota Twins just know how to win in domes.
Or something like that.
Jason Kubel's ninth-inning catwalk single drove home the go-ahead run in a 8-6 win over the Rays on Thursday, just minutes after former Twin Jason Bartlett tied the game with a grand slam off Ron Mahay.
The catwalk shot was only the second ball ever hit off the "A-ring" at Tropicana Field.
Hey, whatever works.
The Twins (61-48) leave Tampa with a four-game series split against, arguably, the best team in baseball. Some would point to the Yankees, but the Rays (67-41) entered Thursday tied with New York for the best record in baseball.
Slowey dominant, despite eighth-inning hiccup
The boxscore won't necessarily reflect it, but Slowey baffled the Rays for much of the game, allowing zero runs and only three baserunners through seven innings.
However, with the Twins leading 6-0 in the eighth, Slowey appeared to run out of gas. He gave up a leadoff home run to B.J. Upton, then hit Kelly Shoppach and walked Evan Longoria. Crain came on with two outs and walked Willy Aybar -- albeit after two very close pitches that could have been called strikes -- to make it 6-2, and Mahay came in to face left-hander Matt Joyce. Rays' manager Joel Maddon responded by pinch hitting Bartlett, who ripped a grand slam to the seats in left field -- his first career 'slam.
Prior to the eighth-inning speed bump, Slowey had tossed 20 1/3 scoreless innings before allowing the home run to Upton. He has worked much more quickly on the mound over his last two or three starts, fidgeting less and shaking off the catcher less as well.
In fact, after a 2-hour and 7-minute game in his last outing, the Twins were on pace for another 2-hour game on Thursday.
Slowey has quietly begun to regain the form most people expected him to show earlier this season. Thursday's performance was only the third time all year Slowey has pitched into the eighth inning. He also went eight innings in his last start, a 4-0 win over Seattle.
Repko the impaler
Repko the impaler
Jason Repko, filling in for a resting Denard Span on Thursday, has fit in nicely since being called-up from Class-AAA Rochester in June. With his fifth-inning home run off Wade Davis on, Repko is now hitting .319/.385/.617 in 53 plate appearances. He also covers a ton of ground in the outfield.
Against lefties, specifically, Repko provides a nice change of pace.
"He's swinging good, playing fantastic defense," manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier this week. "He gives me that option, as we saw, to get Span a day now, and Kubel or Thome. And you're getting a quality player out there too who's been doing pretty well. That's what we talk about, being able to use your whole bench, and get everybody into the ballgames. He makes that pretty easy now."