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Updated: April 28th, 2011 3:40pm
Twins' dormancy continues in blowout loss to Rays

Twins' dormancy continues in blowout loss to Rays

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second straight game, the Tampa Bay Rays posted a crooked number in the first inning on the Minnesota Twins and never looked back.

In Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader at Target Field on Thursday, right-hander Nick Blackburn was wild and extremely hittable -- a combination that helped lead to a 15-3 shellacking.

Blackburn lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits, four walks and zero strikeouts.

"His ball was flattening out on him and never really made the adjustments to get the ball down," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Blackburn made no excuses, saying, "I just couldn't throw strikes. Everything I was throwing was going straight in the dirt. It was just one of those days.

"It's not very often I have to try and convince myself to try and get the ball up. I couldn't find the strike zone."

This performance, of course, took place less than 24 hours after Francisco Liriano was shelled for seven earned runs in three-plus innings on Wednesday night.

As a result of starters exiting early, Twins relievers were forced to throw 129 in six innings on Wednesday night, and 129 more pitches in Game 1 Thursday (Jim Hoey - 44, Jose Mijares - 37, Dusty Hughes - 42). Gardenhire said Hoey, Mijares and Hughes will not be available for Game 2, but Matt Capps, who threw only six pitches Thursday, is still a viable option.

On the bright side, at least the Twins have a chance to redeem themselves in the nightcap (7:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN).

Or maybe they'd be better off with rain clouds ...

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