Timely Hitting Leads Rays Past Twins 6-2
Longoria’s Key 2-Out Bases Clearing Double Leads To Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays (45-53) continue their push back into contention by defeating the Minnesota Twins (44-51) by a final score of 6-2 on Friday night.
Alex Cobb (5-6, 4.08 ERA) held the Twins to a pair of runs over 5.2 innings allowing five hits while striking out two and walking two. The trio of Brad Boxberger, Grant Balfour, and Jake McGee worked the final 3.1 scoreless innings to finish the game.
The Rays hope that the second half of their schedule is a beneficial in 2014 as it has in the past. Since 2010 they have the best second half record in the majors at 167-123.
The Rays victory combined with the Oakland Athletics walk off victory over the Baltimore Orioles moves the Rays withing 8.5 games of the division leading O’s in the American League East. Additionally, the Lost Angeles Angels took 16 inning but beat the Seattle Mariners by a final score of 3-2 moving the Rays to within seven games of the wild card leading Halos.
The Rays grabbed an early 3-0 lead when Evan Longoria delivered a 2-out bases clearing double off Twins starter Kyle Gibson (8-8, 4.19 ERA). Longoira entered the game with only two extra base hits in his last 18 games and both of those (HR, 2b) came against the Detroit Tigers on July 4th.
The three RBI for Longoria gave him the team lead with 47 and puts him within 1 RBI of catching Carl Crawford for the franchise record for RBI at 592.
One of the runners to score on Longoria’s double was catcher Curt Casali who was making his major league debut and led the inning off with a single to record his first major league hit.
The Twins came right back in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 3-2 when Trevor Plouffe delivered a 2-run homer. It was his seventh homer of the year.
Matt Joyce delivered an RBI single off Matt Guerrier in the top of the seventh to put the Rays ahead 6-2. The single gives Joyce a cycle in head-to-head battles with Guerrier and he improving to 4 for 4 with a walk.