6/28/2014 8:47 P.M. ET
Gardenhire gives struggling team a message
By Grace Raynor / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- After a four-run ninth-inning rally that wasn't quite enough in a 5-4 loss to the Rangers on Friday night, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire felt the quiet disappointment that seemed to fill the visiting clubhouse in Arlington.
So he decided to speak.
Despite his team being in the midst of a nine-game losing streak on the road, and despite the feeling that his team is consistently losing games by a single run, Gardenhire had two uplifting messages for his frustrated players.
The first: "It's fun to watch," he told them. "It's fun to watch them play. They didn't quit, they haven't quit. Those are frustrating and hard losses on a team, but they haven't quit, and they proved that again last night."
The second: "I told them keep playing like that, and we'll win plenty of baseball games."
Morales struggling against Darvish
ARLINGTON -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is aware of the numbers.
They're not good.
Gardenhire's first baseman Kendrys Morales was hitting just .136 against Rangers ace Yu Darvish entering Saturday's game. Morales was 3-for-22 with nine strikeouts, and the .136 mark was the lowest batting average for any opponent with at least 20 at-bats against Darvish.
Yet Gardenhire didn't hesitate to put Morales in the lineup Saturday.
"I want him in there. He sat out for four months of baseball, he needs to play," Gardenhire said. "He's swinging good, so he needs to play."
Morales said that despite the low figures, his approach stays the same against Darvish as it would any other pitcher.
"No change, nothing," Morales said. "I'm going to play baseball today and I've faced Darvish a lot of times. He's a good pitcher, but I'm just gonna play today."
More lefties in Saturday's lineup
ARLINGTON -- In an effort to produce as much offense as possible against Yu Darvish Saturday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire juggled his Saturday lineup a bit.
While second baseman Brian Dozier led off Friday against the Rangers, center fielder Sam Fuld took over those duties Saturday.
"He's been swinging the bat exceptionally well right now," Dozier said of his teammate. "He's got a lot of speed at the top of the order ... put him in there and see what happens. That's fine with me."
Additionally, the Twins' Saturday lineup boasted a slew of left-handed batters. Fuld, Joe Mauer, Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee are all lefties, while Morales, Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Florimon are all switch hitters. That leaves just two batters, Dozier and Kurt Suzuki, who don't swing left.
Gardenhire planned it that way with Darvish on the mound.
"Lefties do better. We've got as many left-handed bats in there as we can possibly do," Gardenhire said. "This guy's a really good pitcher and I know that we can't make any mistakes. You can't give this guy runs."
Florimon continues to struggle offensively
ARLINGTON -- Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon has been struggling mightily as of late offensively, but because of his defense, manager Ron Gardenhire desperately needs him in the lineup.
"He's scuffling. I feel bad for the kid because he's such a good defender," Gardenhire said. "He's really frustrated, I feel bad for the kid. He's a great kid and he's trying. He's trying."
Florimon is hitting .093 on the season in 31 games and 75 at-bats.
He has just seven hits -- two of which were good for extra bases -- and seven runs to go along with 22 strikeouts. Against the Rangers Friday, Florimon went 0-for-2, and is in the midst of an 0-for-18 stretch. "It's just not happening for him," Gardenhire said. "He needs a bloop. He needs something to fall in for him that'll maybe get his confidence going again."
Dozier, Suzuki hanging in as top-5 vote-getters
ARLINGTON -- It's been six days since the latest American League All-Star voting results were released, and in five more the voting will come to an end.
Second baseman Brian Dozier and catcher Kurt Suzuki are each top-5 voter getters in their respective positions for the Twins, but as of Sunday, Dozier had dropped one spot down to fifth, and Suzuki was in fourth.
Without fan votes, the Twins are in jeopardy of being outdone on their own turf when the All-Star festivities kick off in Minneapolis.
Dozier had 841,980 votes and Suzuki had 812,865.
Dozier trails Seattle's Robinson Cano, who leads all second basemen with 2,007,055 votes. Baltimore's Matt Wieters had the top spot for catchers Sunday with 1,852,770.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
• With a loss last night, it is impossible for the Twins to take the season-series against the Rangers. They are 1-4 against the Rangers this season.
• Minnesota's bullpen currently has a 2.04 ERA in their last 11 games, and opponents are hitting just .198 against them. The have walked just 84 batters in nearly 250 innings.
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.