The Rays defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-4 for their 5th win in a row, 9 of the last 10, and 12 of the last 15 to improve to a season high 10-games over .500 at 50-40. The Twins are heading in the other direction and tonight’s loss was their 14th in the last 21 and their record stands at 37-50.
Although he was credited with a quality start Roberto Hernandez had to grind his way through 6 innings allowing 3R/ER on 8 hits striking out 3, walking 3, hitting a batter, and allowing a home run. Joe Maddon described Hernandez’s outing as a “bend but don’t break kind of pitching performance.”
Entering tonight’s game Luke Scott had hit .377 (20 for 53) over his last 17 games (13 starts) with 8 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, and 10 RBI. Accordingly Joe Maddon moved him up to the #2 spot in the batting order and the move paid immediate dividends as Scott launched his 6th home run of the year to put the Rays on top 1-0.
Hernandez was staked to a 2-0 lead on a RBI single by Jose Molina in the 2nd inning that scored Wil Myers but allowed the Twins to cut the lead in half in the top of the 3rd on a Brian Dozier RBI double.
The Rays tied the game up at 3-3 on a 2-out RBI single by Evan Longoria scoring Desmond Jennings in the top of the 5th inning. Hernandez kept the Twins off the board for two more innings before departing the game after 6 innings.
Alex Torres (3-0, 0.36 ERA) came in and worked another scoreless inning. On the season he has now worked in 14 games and allowed 1 ER in 25 innings of work striking out 31 and walking 8.
The Rays bats came alive in the bottom of the 7th. Yunel Escobar led off the inning with his 7th home run of the season to put the Rays on top 4-3. Desmond Jennings followed Escobar’s home run with a triple and came in to score on Ben Zobrist‘s 6th home run on the year.
Joel Peralta held the Twins off the board in the top of the 8th and the Rays tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI sacrifice fly by Yunel Escobar that scored Wil Myers.
Jamey Wright came in to work the 9th inning and got 1-out but was taken out after allowing a RBI single to Pedro Florimon to score Aaron Hicks who had doubled. Hicks and Florimon were a pain in the Rays side all night going 6 for 8 with 2 runs scored and an RBI.
Fernando Rodney, who had been warming up in the bottom of the 8th, came in to work the final 2-outs to earn his 20th save on the year.
Sam Deduno (4-4, 3.90) took the loss working 6 innings and allowing 5R/ER on 10 hits striking out 3 and walking 2.