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Bullpen & Late Homers Lead Rays Over Twins

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.

[1]Although he was credited with a quality start Roberto Hernandez [2] 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 [3] described Hernandez’s outing as a “bend but don’t break kind of pitching performance.”

Entering tonight’s game Luke Scott [4] 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 [5] in the 2nd inning that scored Wil Myers [6] but allowed the Twins to cut the lead in half in the top of the 3rd on a Brian Dozier [7] RBI double.

The Twins took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 4th. They tied the game on a Justin Morneau [8] leadoff home run and took the lead on a RBI sacrifice fly by Chris Parmelee [9].

The Rays tied the game up at 3-3 on a 2-out RBI single by Evan Longoria [10] scoring Desmond Jennings [11] 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 [12] (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 [13] 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 [14]‘s 6th home run on the year.

Joel Peralta [15] 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 [16] came in to work the 9th inning and got 1-out but was taken out after allowing a RBI single to Pedro Florimon [17] to score  Aaron Hicks [18] 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 [19], 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 [20] (4-4, 3.90) took the loss working 6 innings and allowing 5R/ER on 10 hits striking out 3 and walking 2.

The Rays will send Chris Archer [21] (2-3, 4.17 ERA) up against right hander Kyle Gibson [22] (1-1, 7.94 ERA) tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m.