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Updated: May 7th, 2011 5:16pm
Twins Daily: Offense nonexistent in rain-lengthened loss to Red Sox

Twins Daily: Offense nonexistent in rain-lengthened loss to Red Sox

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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One day after breaking out offensively against knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, the Minnesota Twins offense was completely stifled by Clay Buccholz and a depleted bullpen in a 4-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

The skinny

Unfortunately for the Twins offense, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is not available to pitch every day.

One day after tallying nine runs off Wakefield and company, the Twins came up empty against Clay Buchholz and a depleted Red Sox bullpen.

The Twins mustered only three hits and two walks in the shutout, which took 4 hours and 52 minutes to complete due to a two-hour rain delay.

Turning point

Brian Duensing didn't know it at the time, but the two-out, RBI single he allowed to Jed Lowrie in the bottom of the first inning turned out to be the game-winning run.

Jacoby Ellsbury started the inning with a double off the Green Monster, and Dustin Pedroia walked to bring Adrian Gonzalez to the plate. Duensing appeared on the verge of pitching out of the jam when he induced a lineout to left by Gonzalez and a swinging strikeout by Kevin Youkilis. But Lowrie came through.

Numbers game

127: The length of Saturday's rain delay, in minutes.

2: Innings thrown by Duensing before the rain delay hit. Duensing allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw only 33 pitches.

3: Innings thrown by Boston starter Clay Buccholz after the rain delay. He went five innings in all, allowing zero runs on two hits and a walk while striking out six and throwing 61 pitches. Buccholz also threw three simulated innings during the delay in order to stay loose. A 13-inning game on Wednesday night, followed by short starts in blowouts on Thursday and Friday left the Red Sox with a beleaguered bullpen. Buccholz's willingness to return after the rain delay was a big lift.

4: Strikeouts for Jason Kubel.

3: The number of times the Twins have been shut out this season.

10: The number of times the Twins have scored two runs or fewer in 31 games.

Health report

• LHP Francisco Liriano will have his scheduled start Monday pushed back to Tuesday due to a sore throat. Pitching Monday would have given Liriano one extra day of rest, so pitching Tuesday gives him two. He threw 123 pitches in a no-hitter last Tuesday.

• Slowey (shoulder) was activated prior to the game, and he will continue to pitch out of the bullpen unless a starter falters.

On deck

The series continues on Sunday (12:35 p.m., 1500 ESPN) as right-hander Carl Pavano (2-3, 5.84) takes on right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3, 4.33).

Pavano has scuffled early this season, allowing at least six earned runs in three of his six starts. Last time out, Pavano gave up seven runs (six earned) and 12 hits in just 5 1/3 innings to the Kansas City Royals, later taking out his frustrations with a bat in the dugout.

Matsuzaka was initially scheduled to start Friday night's game, but the Red Sox used him as an emergency reliever in Wednesday night's 13-inning marathon against the Angels. Matsuzaka took the loss in that appearance, allowing two runs on a walk and three hits. In five starts, Matsuzaka has posted a 3.81 ERA with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in 26 innings.

Coming up

• Monday: at Boston, 6:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (2-4, 4.41) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (2-1, 2.35).
• Tuesday: vs. Detroit, 7:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (2-4, 6.61) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (2-2, 3.93).
• Wednesday: vs. Detroit, 12:35 p.m. RHP Scott Baker (2-2, 2.97) vs. LHP Phil Coke (1-5, 4.75).

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