For all the misfires and pratfalls in the ending of Monday's 11-inning loss to the Angels in Anaheim, the Twins took some optimism from the beginning, if only because struggling starter Brad Radke took what appeared to be an important step forward in his rough season.
Radke was stuck with a no-decision after the bullpen blew a save, but he survived seven hits and three walks over six gutsy innings to give up just two runs for only his third quality start of the season.
"He pitched real well, had all his pitches working," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That was good to see. It was disappointing we couldn't get him the win."
Radke, who entered the game with the second-worst ERA in the American League (7.47) among qualifiers, faced seven men in the first inning, but allowed just one run, leaving the bases loaded when Dallas McPherson popped up to end it.
He had runners on base in every inning except his last one, but navigated through the trouble for perhaps his most impressive start of the season.
REPLAY:The Twins fell to 1-12 in games outside the Central time zone and 7-18 overall in road games Monday when they blew a 3-2 lead in the eighth and then lost the game, 4-3, in the 11th on a walk-off RBI single by Orlando Cabrera off Jesse Crain with nobody out.
Crain pitched two scoreless innings, but created much of his own troubles in his third inning of work, when he allowed a leadoff single to Chone Figgins, then threw errantly past first trying to pick him off, only to watch one of the fastest men in the American League take third on the play. Next pitch: Cabrera singled.
NOTES, QUOTES:Monday's loss was the Twins' first in four extra-inning games this season. They also fell to 10-5 against American League West opponents this year.C Joe Mauer extended his season-high hitting streak to eight games on Monday.RF Michael Cuddyer's seventh homer of the year on Monday was also his fourth in nine games.DH Rondell White reached the .200 mark in season batting average for the first time this year (average at the end of he game), when he went 2-for-4 to reach exactly .200. After hitting .143 in April, he's hitting .278 in May, including .292 (14-for-48) over his past 15 games.Manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game what his lineup card has said all season: that OF Lew Ford is a role player and not a big league starter, despite 522 and 569 at-bats the past two years.
BY THE NUMBERS: 28.9 -- Games per ejection for manager Ron Gardenhire after he was tossed for the fourth time this season, 24th in his four-plus-year managing career, on Wednesday. That puts him on pace to be ejected next on Monday, June 26, at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in the bottom of the fourth inning.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't have a contract that goes that long. People ask me about it, and I always say, 'Good luck to the Twins.' " -- Manager Ron Gardenhire when asked about being the manager when the Twins' new outdoor ballpark is scheduled to open in 2010.