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Twins 11, Rays 8: Twins win shootout

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The Twins survived a near-comeback by the Rays, continuing their successful home-stand.

Tampa Bay Rays v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Both Nathan Eovaldi and Jake Odorizzi entered today on hot streaks. In Odorizzi’s last three starts his line was: 17 IP, 12 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 8 BB, 22 SO. Eovaldi was even better with: 19 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 23 SO. So, naturally, I thought tonight might be a low-scoring, pitcher’s duel. I was wrong.

Of the 18 players to start in the lineup for the Twins and Rays, 17 of them reached base safely at least once. The two teams combined for 28 hits, and 19 runs.

The Twins started the offensive onslaught. In the first, Brian Dozier picked up a sac-fly RBI to score the first run of the game. Jorge Polanco hit a triple to score the 2nd run, and then Max Kepler, Robbie Grossman and Jake Cave all singled, scoring another pair of runs. After all was said and done, the Twins were up 4-0.

The Rays tallied their first run in the top of the 3rd on a throwing error by Odorizzi as Carlos Gomez was running home. Jake got Matt Duffy to ground into a double play, though, ending the inning.

In the bottom of the third, the Twins had another 4-run inning. Joe Mauer was responsible for 3 of those runs on a blast to the batter’s eye in center. The home run for Joe was his 3rd of the year. Jake Cave, the cave for Jakes, hit an RBI double earlier in that inning. I should recap a game out of order one of these times.

In the 4th, the Odorizzi gave up a lead off double to Jake Bauers, and then a couple of singles brought him in. The home team was still comfortably on top, however, 8-2.

That feeling of comfort was fleeting (it usually is with this team), though, as the 5th started with back-to-back bloop singles for Tampa Bay. Jake Bauers, who I think would be a great villain in a Joe Mauer themed comic book (the anti-Mauer), hit a 3-run blast to center field to make it a 3-run game. After hitting Joey Wendle with a pitch, Odorizzi’s day was done, and Alan Busenitz was brought in for relief. Two pitches later, C.J. Cron hit an RBI double to cut the Twins lead to 8-6. That closed the proverbial book on Odorizzi, his final line was: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.

You’ve seen the final score already so you know we don’t actually blow this lead, but it sure felt at the time that the Rays were winning the game.

The worry did not cease in the 6th inning, as Adeiny Hechavarria lead off with a single. Taylor Rogers replaced Busenitz, but he gave up an RBI single to Matt Duffy to cut the Twins lead to 8-7.

The Twins offense really needed some insurance at this point, and they obliged. Dozier started the bottom of the 6th with a double down the left field line. Then All Star Game snub Eduardo Escobar hit a grounder up the middle to score the Twins’ 9th run of the day. Robbie Grossman capped the inning off with a double to left, scoring Escobar, and giving the Twins a 10-7 lead.

The Minnesota bullpen needed answers, and they found them in the form of Trevor Hildenberger, who struck out the side in the 7th.

The Twins picked up another run in the 7th on a Jake Cave triple followed by a Joe Mauer sac-fly RBI.

Zach Duke pitched a scoreless 8th inning, stranding two Rays base-runners. Fernando Rodney was brought in to pitch the 9th with a 4-run lead. He closed the game out, giving up a harmless solo HR to Joey Wendle to give us the final score: Twins 11, Rays 8.

The win brings the Twins to 43-49, while the Rays drop to 48-46. The Cleveland Indians won today, so they didn’t gain any ground on them in the standings (7.5 GB).

Studs:

Every Twins batter: 15-36 (.417), 11 RBI, 4 BB, 7 SO

Joe Mauer: Extended his hit streak to 7 games with his 2-3, 4 RBI performance.

Duds:

NO DUDS TWINS WIN!

Robot Roll Call:

COTG:

montanatwinsfan for this comment on Joe Mauer’s HOF case.