Extra effort

Twins Spring Training

Luis Rodriguez ends it with a single to center to score Josh Rabe from second. Big stuff from the 5-9 utility guy, who had two homers in Friday's game in Dodgertown.

No, this wasn't the biggest hit of Rodriguez's life. But you can bet it was appreciated by the fans.

If the Rays had gotten two more outs in the 11th, the game would have been a tie. That would have marked the second draw of the spring for Minnesota.

As it is, the Twins are 3-8-1. They will play the Marlins on Monday at Hammond Stadium.

Gardenhire praised Ortiz, again, after the game in the clubhouse. He said the pitcher has an energy about him that the other players can feed off.

Good performance for Cali, too. We'll see if this gets him over the hump.



W: Miller, L: Peguero.

2B: Pena, Tampa Bay (2), Cuddyer (4), Cirillo (1), Rabe (1).


Is this really necessary?

No scores in the 10th, so we're going to the 11th.


Minnesota 3, Tampa Bay 3; after nine

Just like that, we've got another inning to play. Tampa Bay scored twice in the top of the ninth to tie it.

Oswaldo Sosa, who pitched the entire inning, nearly got out of it, but B.J. Upton came through with a single up the middle to score the tying run.

So one more inning to go. Coming in for the the Twins to pitch is Jason Miller, who has seen 3.2 innings of work this spring.


Minnesota 2, Tampa Bay 1; middle of the eighth

For the second time in five days, Carmen Cali got to pitch in front of the home folks. This time, he looked good.

The Naples High product has had his struggles this spring. In his first three outings (two on the road) he allowed five runs and 11 hits in just 2.2 innings of work.

Against Tampa Bay, he retired three of the four batters he faced in the eighth. The last three went down in order.

Twins coming to bat.


Minnesota 2, Tampa Bay 0; end of six

The hit and run. Indeed, it's a beautiful thing.

Minnesota executed one perfectly with one out in the sixth. Alexi Castilla, the pinch-runner for Castillo, scored on a rolling single by Redmond where the Devil Rays second baseman would have been -- had he not been drawn to second to cover the bag.

Redmond then scored from second on a double by Cuddyer for a 2-1 lead. So the Twins have their first lead, with J.D. Durbin the new pitcher.


Tampa Bay 1, Minnesota 0; end of five

Another weird sequence. In the top of the fifth, Zobrist beats out a routine grounder to Castillo at second, and then is picked off for the first out of the inning.

Aso of note: So far, the Twins have as many errors (three) as hits.

Be back shortly.


Tampa Bay 1, Minnesota 0; end of three

Wild sequence leads to Tampa Bay's run. An E3 on a strikeout, an infield hit on a slow-roller to the mound, and a seeing-eye single between third baseman Nick Punto and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

All of it happens with two outs, after Ortiz retired seven of the first eight in order. It would have been eight of nine, but Justin Morneau didn't cover first after Ben Zobrist struck out, a mental lapse. Since the third strike was in the dirt, catcher Mike Redmond needed someone to throw the ball to.

No matter the run, Ortiz looked good. If he continues the way he has started, then No. 44 is going to run away with the No. 2 spot in the rotation.

It would be huge for Minnesota if the 33-year-old can get back to the type of success he had four or fives years ago. His best season came in 2002, when he went 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA for the Anaheim Angels. He also got a World Series ring that year.

Joe Nathan will pitch the fourth.

As far as Minnesota's offense goes, it hasn't been a repeat of Friday's performance. The Twins exploded with four homers in Dodgertown, the highlight of an 8-7 loss to L.A.

It appeared Minnesota would come through with something in the first. But Luis Castillo was left stranded at third after Michael Cuddyer grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Stay tuned.


Welcome back!

We're about two hours from the national anthem here at Hammond Stadium. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are in town today with a split squad.

The right fielder for Tampa Bay is Delmon Young, who is expected to bat third on Opening Day. That is where they have him penciled in for this one, behind B.J. Upton and Elijah Dukes.

Young, you may recall, was suspended 50 games last season for throwing his bat at an umpire. It was the longest known suspension in the history of the International League. But he eventually made it to the big leagues, where he hit .318 with three homers in 30 games.

We'll see how he fares against Ramon Ortiz, who has been about as impressive as any Twin this spring. In two starts, the veteran right-hander is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA.

Minnesota is taking batting practice while the Devil Rays do some stretching in right field. Among the reporters on the field is Peter Gammons, who has been shooting the breeze with Torii Hunter the last 15 minutes or so.

Here are the lineups. Be back later.

TAMPA BAY: 2B Upton, CF Dukes, RF Young, LF Gomes, DH Hee Seop Choi, C Riggans, 1B Pena, 3B Guzman, SS Zobrist, RHP Stokes.

MINNESOTA: 2B Castillo, 3B Punto, C Redmond, RF Cuddyer, 1B Morneau, CF Hunter, LF White, DH Cirillo, SS Bartlett, RHP Ortiz.

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