MLB-best Twins rally, beat Rays 5-3 in matchup of hot teams
By Dick Scanlon
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Eddie Rosario hit a tiebreaking two-run single off Diego Castillo in the ninth inning after a pair of batters were hit by pitches, and the Minnesota Twins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Friday night in a matchup of two of the major leagues’ hottest teams.
Minnesota, a big league-best 38-18, overcame a 3-1 fifth-inning deficit and won for the 13th time in 16 games. The Twins have scored three or more runs in 24 straight games, matching the Minnesota record for a single season, set in 2006.
José Berríos and Taylor Rogers (2-1) combined on a four-hitter and stopped a six-game winning streak by the Rays (35-20), their longest since last August. Tampa Bay won the series opener 14-3 and had allowed three runs or fewer in its previous nine games.
Helped by $7.11 tickets, the Rays drew 14,375 to Tropicana Field after three straight days of crowds ranging from 5,786 to 8,076.
Castillo (1-4) hit Jonathan Schoop on the left shoulder with a slider leading off the ninth. Schoop was sacrificed to second and took third on a groundout, and Polanco was intentionally walked, and Castillo hit Astudillo on the left arm with a slider on a 1-2 count.
Left-hander Adam Kolarek relieved, and the left-handed hitting Rosario grounded an opposite-field single to left, past the spot vacated when third baseman Christian Arroyo shifted toward shortstop.
Rogers (2-1) retired his first six batters, allowed Daniel Robertson’s two-out single in the ninth, then retired Mike Zunino on a groundout.
Berríos struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and three hits.
Rays opener Ryne Stanek gave up one run in two innings.
Astudillo had an RBI single in the first, but Kevin Kiermaier’s two-run homer in the second put the Rays ahead. Austin Meadows stole home in the third when with runners at the corners and two outs, Willy Adames got caught in a rundown while Meadows dashed home. The throw from Schoop at second was in the dirt and got away from Astudillo at the plate.
Astudillo was thrown out at the plate by Kiermaier while trying to score on C.J. Cron’s two-out double to center.
Tampa Bay played with C Travis d’Arnaud as the only healthy backup. Outfielders Tommy Pham (right leg cramp) and Avisail Garcia (overall body soreness/hamstrings) were limited to pinch hitting.