Twins Daily: Ninth-inning rally comes up just short in loss to D-Backs
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Despite a late-inning offensive rally, the Minnesota Twins were unable to overcome pitchers allowing seven runs between the seventh and eighth innings in an 8-7 interleague loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
What began as a fast-paced pitchers duel turned into a plodding slugfest, of which the Twins eventually came up just short.
Starter Brian Duensing took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but he was unable to hold the narrow lead, and the relievers who followed -- specifically Glen Perkins (one earned run in 2/3 innings) and Kevin Slowey (two earned runs in 2/3 innings) -- couldn't control the damage.
Trailing 8-4 heading into the top of the ninth, the Twins rallied to make things interesting. Danny Valencia hit a one-out solo homer off Juan Gutierrez to cut the lead to three, Delmon Young reached on an infield single and Drew Butera mashed a rare double to score Young.
Stephen Drew's solo home run off Duensing to lead off the top of the seventh inning tied the game at 2-2, and the flood gates opened from there.
Three batters later, Xavier Nady singled home the go-ahead run with a flare to left, chasing Duensing from the game. Perkins then came in and gave up a two-out, three-run double to Ryan Roberts that gave Arizona a 6-2 lead.
The Twins were forced to play catch-up from that point on.
5: Home runs for Michael Cuddyer this season, which leads the team. Cuddyer's solo blast in the second inning gave the Twins a 1-0 lead.
3: Home runs for Trevor Plouffe after his solo blast in the sixth inning, which temporarily gave the Twins a 2-1 lead.
12: Runs scored by both teams combined from the seventh inning on.
17: Interleague games remaining for the Twins.
Arizona's originally scheduled starter for Saturday's game (9:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) was Armando Galarraga, but he was designated for assignment on Thursday after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight starts.
Instead, right-hander Micah Owings (0-0, 0.00) will make his 2011 debut against right-hander Scott Baker (2-3, 3.99), who has already allowed nine home runs in just 49 2/3 innings.
Owings began his career in Arizona in 2007 and 2008 before pitching in 28 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2009 and 2010. He owns a 5.11 career ERA with 296 strikeouts to 180 walks in 410 1/3 innings. Most impressively, however, is Owings' .293/.323/.538 career batting line with nine home runs in 198 plate appearances.
• Sunday: at Arizona, 3:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-5, 6.12) vs. RHP Daniel Hudson (4-5, 4.03).
• Monday: vs. Seattle, 7:10 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (2-4, 5.30) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.39).
• Tuesday: vs. Seattle, 7:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (3-4, 3.40) vs. RHP Doug Fister (2-4, 2.93).