Joe Mauer homered and drove in four runs and Jake Cave had three hits, including a double and triple, and had two RBIs and two runs scored to lead the surging Minnesota Twins to their third straight win, 11-8, over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Robbie Grossman also had three hits, and Mauer, Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco each had two as Minnesota, which finished with 15 hits, won for the eighth time in nine games. Trevor Hildenberger (2-2), who struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh inning, was awarded the victory.
Jake Odorizzi, traded to the Twins on Feb. 17 after pitching in 127 games over five seasons for Tampa Bay, struggled in his first start against his old team, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and a walk in just 4 1/3 innings. He failed to garner the necessary five innings to pick up the win despite being handed an early seven-run lead.
Jake Bauers homered, doubled, drove in three runs and scored twice and Joey Wendle also homered and had two hits for Tampa Bay. Matt Duffy, Wilson Ramos and Carlos Gomez also each had two hits for the Rays, who are 14-6 in their last 20 games.
Nathan Eovaldi (3-4), who pitched six perfect innings and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings in his previous start on Sunday, allowed eight runs on nine hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings as Minnesota jumped out to an 8-1 lead.
The Twins parlayed six hits into four runs in the first, with Brian Dozier driving in Mauer, who singled to start the inning, with a long sacrifice fly to the fence in left-center to get things started. Polanco made it 2-0 with a triple off the right field wall, and Max Kepler and Cave added RBI singles.
The Rays cut it to 4-1 in the third when Gomez doubled off the glove of Rosario in the gap in left-center, took third on a throwing error by Rosario and scored when Odorizzi threw wildly to the plate on a comebacker by Kevin Kiermaier.
Minnesota extended its lead to 8-1 in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI double by Cave and Mauer’s third homer of the season, a three-run shot to dead center that landed at the bottom of the batters’ eye and was measured at 427 feet.
But Tampa Bay chipped away with runs in four straight innings, including a four-run fifth that chased Odorizzi and was highlighted by a three-run homer by Bauers to center and an RBI double by C.J. Cron off the fence in right-center. An RBI single by Duffy drove in Adeiny Hechavarria in the sixth and cut Minnesota’s lead to 8-7.
The Twins increased their lead to 10-7 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Eduardo Escobar and an RBI double off the bottom of the left field fence by Grossman.
Cave tripled to center to open the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mauer to extend Minnesota’s lead to 11-7.
Joey Wendle ended the scoring with his fourth homer of the season in the ninth off reliever Fernando Rodney.
—Field Level Media