Slumping Gomez homers in 9th, Rays beat Twins 8-6 for sweep
By MARK DIDTLER, Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — It seemed unlikely that slumping Carlos Gomez would follow through on hitting a home run for his son.
He had struck out three times in his first four hitless at-bats. His last trip to the plate, however, produced something special.
Gomez hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep Sunday by beating the Minnesota Twins 8-6.
“He had a really good game (Saturday) playing soccer,” Gomez said. “They won the game because of the goal he put in. So, I told him it’s my turn. I’ll try and hit a homer for you. I did it and I know he’s going to be really happy.”
C.J. Cron opened the ninth with a single off Addison Reed (0-1) and Gomez, mired in a 2-for-38 slide, hit the next pitch over the left field wall.
Earlier, Gomez broke his bat on his leg after striking out.
“What’s impressive is he’s able to rebound from that and not let it consume him,” Rays manager Kevin Cash.
It was Gomez’s first walk-off hit, coming in his 1,329th game.
“I’m really happy,” Gomez said. “Being the first time, I’m the right guy.”
Daniel Robertson had a career-high four hits for Tampa Bay, which has gone 7-5 after losing eight of nine to start the season.
Alex Colome (2-2) struck out three during a perfect ninth to get his second win in three days.
Minnesota had a lead in all three games.
“A tough series overall,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Twins pinch hitter Miguel Sano had an RBI single in the seventh and Brian Dozier made it 6-all with a two-run single in the eighth.
Dozier set a Twins record by extending his season-opening hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the third. He had shared the old mark of 15 with Kirby Puckett (1994) and Josh Willingham (2012). Dating to last season, Dozier has a hit in 23 straight games.
Adeiny Hechavarria hit a three-run homer during a four-run sixth that put Tampa Bay up 6-3. It was his first homer since last Sept. 27, and came on an 0-2 pitch from Alan Busenitz.
Cron hit his third homer over the past two games, a two-run shot off Twins right-hander Phil Hughes in the first.
Hughes allowed two runs and five hits over 3 1/3 innings in his first big league start since last July 14. He ended last season on the 60-day disabled list due to thoracic outlet syndrome and started this sidelined by a strained left oblique.
“Not an ideal start, especially pitch-count wise,” said Hughes, who threw 35 of 70 pitches in the first. “It didn’t give me a chance to go as deep as I would have liked. But it feels good to be back.”
The Twins tied it at 2 on Eduardo Escobar’s second-inning solo homer off Yonny Chirinos and an RBI single by Eddie Rosario in the third.
Chirinos, making his first appearance as the Rays’ fourth starter, gave up two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (migraines) went 0 for 4 as the DH for Class A Fort Myers and against Bradenton. He may play in center field Monday and Tuesday for the Florida State League team.
Rays: 3B Matt Duffy (strained right hamstring) could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday.
THINKING OF FARQUHAR
The Rays on their Twitter site posted photos of a uniform of former Tampa Bay pitcher Danny Farquhar being hung in the dugout along with the caption, “You’re in our thoughts, Danny.”
Farquhar, now with the Chicago White Sox, had a brain hemorrhage stemming from a ruptured aneurysm in the dugout during Friday night’s game against Houston.
The Twins bullpen allowed 15 runs and 20 hits, including four homers, in 10 innings.
Twins: RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-1) goes against New York RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-2) Monday night in the first of four games at Yankee Stadium.
Rays: RHP Jake Faria (1-1), who stopped a 10-game winless streak with his first victory since last July 25 against Texas Wednesday, starts the opener of a nine-game road trip Tuesday night at Baltimore.