MINNEAPOLIS -- It was simply one of those nights where little went right for the Twins.
Before the game, Delmon Young was a late scratch and was later placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, while word also came that Jim Thome and Jason Repko were out for the next few days with previously unannounced minor injuries.
But it was the start of the game that was even worse for Minnesota, as left-hander Francisco Liriano allowed four runs and five hits before even recording an out. It was a poor start from which the Twins could never recover, as they lost 8-2 to the Rays on a snowy Wednesday night at Target Field.
"I was just leaving the ball up in the zone," Liriano said of his slow start. "It was a cold night, so it wasn't fun to pitch. I just couldn't get comfortable and was making mistakes."
Liriano, pitching on eight days' rest because of a pair of rainouts, had problems from the get-go, as he allowed those five straight hits, which included two doubles and a triple, to allow the Rays to open the game with a 4-0 lead.
It was especially troublesome considering the Twins' lineup was depleted due to injury, and the team never really had a chance to get back into the ballgame.
"We didn't pitch and our lineup didn't have anything to do with our pitcher getting us behind," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That had nothing to do with our lineup. We had a couple chances to get a big hit and get a few runs but we didn't do that, either. We just lost the ballgame, but our pitching has to give us a chance, and tonight that just didn't happen."
Liriano settled down for two frames after that shaky first, but was plagued by control problems in the fourth, allowing a leadoff single to Dan Johnson before walking Reid Brignac and Sam Fuld to load the bases with no outs.
Liriano was then replaced by right-hander Eric Hacker, who couldn't stop the damage, as he walked home two runs before allowing a sacrifice fly to Ben Zobrist for another run. With the trio of inherited runners scoring, Liriano allowed seven runs on six hits over three-plus innings, while walking four and striking out four.
Liriano, though, didn't want to blame the snowy weather for his outing, saying it was just a lack of control, which has plagued him season to the tune of a 9.13 ERA in five starts this season.
"I don't want to make excuses," Liriano said. "I just had a bad night. I had a bad first inning and had too many walks. My location just isn't working for me right now."
Hacker, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game, didn't fare much better, allowing those three inherited runs to score in the fourth and an unearned run in the seventh, while walking four batters over 3 1/3 innings. Left-hander Dusty Hughes relieved Hacker, and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings and walked one. The nine combined walks were the most surrendered by the Twins since walking 10 in a loss to the Yankees on May 15, 2009.
The offense, meanwhile, was mostly held in check by Rays right-hander Wade Davis, who allowed two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"I thought Wade pitched well, but not as sharp as he can be," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Then again, it's kind of extreme weather out there to pitch a baseball game in. But overall, he battled very well and got us through almost seven. It was another good performance by him."
Minnesota scored its first run in the third, when Matt Tolbert led off the frame with a double and later scored on a two-out single from Jason Kubel. And the Twins later added a run in the seventh, when they loaded the bases with one out and plated a run on a sacrifice fly from Alexi Casilla.
But the Rays were in control from the start, much to the dismay of the 36,714 fans who were in attendance despite snowy conditions that lasted most of the game.
"It was just a rough night in general," center fielder Denard Span said. "I just have to tip my cap to the fans. They came out and I'm not sure that I would've done that in this weather. So we appreciate that and it's unfortunate we couldn't play better."