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Updated: April 16th, 2011 6:43pm
Twins Daily: Nathan blows another save in walk-off loss to Rays

Twins Daily: Nathan blows another save in walk-off loss to Rays

by Phil Mackey
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For the second time in three nights, Joe Nathan and Matt Capps squandered a late-inning lead, as the Minnesota Twins fell 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays in walk-off fashion on Saturday.

The skinny

A solid start by Scott Baker went for naught, as the Twins bullpen blew a late-inning lead for the second time this series.

Nathan came on for the ninth and immediately allowing a monster, game-tying solo home run to Ben Zobrist for his second blown save of the series.

Nathan was pulled after walking two batters, and his replacement, left-hander Jose Mijares, gave up a game-winning RBI single to Johnny Damon.

Turning point

Capps, pitching in the eighth inning just two days after he blew a save in the 10th, allowed an RBI single to Matt Joyce that cut the lead to 3-2.

Capps pitched out of the inning without any further damage, but needless to say, a one-run lead is a much different baton to pass to Nathan than a two-run lead.

Numbers game

2: Earned runs allowed by Scott Baker in his last three starts against the Rays -- 22 innings, two earned runs, 21 strikeouts and two walks. After laboring through his first two starts of the season, Baker coasted through seven innings on Saturday, allowing only one earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out six.

0: The number of times the Twins have scored more than five runs this season in 14 games. Might as well keep this one up until a breakout occurs.

955: Days since the last time Nathan blew back-to-back save opportunities (September 3, 2008).

2: The number of games, out of 14 total, that Span hasn't reached base at least once. After a 3-for-5 performance on Saturday, Span is now hitting .339/.371/.458.

637: Days between Jason Kubel's ninth career stolen base (July 18, 2009) and his 10th, which came in the sixth inning. Kubel also smacked his first home run of the season in the second inning.

Health watch

• Mauer, who remains on the 15-day disabled list with leg weakness, remained at the team hotel as he attempts to kick a viral infection. There's a chance Mauer could make his way over to Tropicana Field to watch Sunday's game, according to the Pioneer Press.

On deck

In Sunday's series finale (12:40 p.m., 1500 ESPN), the Twins will face one of the best pitchers in baseball, left-hander David Price (1-2, 3.92).

Price finished second in the American League Cy Young Award voting last season, posting a 2.27 ERA and 3.42 FIP with 188 strikeouts in 208 2/3 innings. Price walked 79, but allowed only 170 hits and 15 home runs. In three starts this season, Price has posted a 3.92 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings.

Price's opponent, left-hander Brian Duensing (0-0, 4.15), allowed two earned runs in six innings against the Royals in his last start. Current Rays hitters have only 22 plate appearances against Duensing, with a batting line of .167/.318/.333.

Coming up

• Monday: at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-3, 9.42) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (0-1, 7.30).
• Tuesday: at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (1-1, 3.60) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (1-1, 7.04).
• Wednesday: at Baltimore, 6:05 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (1-2, 3.06) vs. LHP Zach Britton (2-1, 2.75).

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd