Dickerson leads Rays past Twins
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Opening a key series with wild-card rival Minnesota, the Tampa Bay Rays got 14 hits on Monday, pulling away to an 11-4 win over the Twins at Tropicana Field.
“That was huge. One through nine, throughout the whole lineup, everyone did their part,” said Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who had three hits and drove in two runs. “That was a game we need, and I hope that gets guys’ confidence up and proves to everyone what kind of team we can be.”
Corey Dickerson hit a home run and two doubles, one of which drove in a run in a four-run sixth inning, and Logan Morrison had a home run among his three hits.
Tampa Bay (69-70) made up ground in the chase for the final American League wild card and pulled within three games of Minnesota (71-66).
Starter Alex Cobb (10-9) held Minnesota to one run in 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven, in outdueling Twins starter Jose Berrios (12-7). The 11 runs were the most for the Rays in a home game since they scored 15 against the Orioles on June 23.
“It was a good game for a while, kind of fell apart for us there at the end when we couldn’t contain once we went to the bullpen,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Cobb threw the ball well, we had a lot of trouble with his curveball. ... We’re starting a trip and these games are obviously important, but we weren’t able to find a way to win this one.”
Dickerson broke out an 0-for-13 slump with a solo home run in the second inning, then helped break open a 2-1 game with an RBI double in the sixth, later scoring on a two-run single that was Kiermaier’s third hit of the night.
Morrison added a solo home run — his 36th — for a 7-1 lead in the seventh.
Minnesota got a two-run home run from Brian Dozier, his 28th, to cut the lead to 7-3 in the eighth.
Tampa Bay tagged on four runs in the bottom of the inning, two on a bases-loaded single by Evan Longoria.
The Twins used five relievers and four of them gave up runs, each in an inning or less of work.
“It makes you so much more dangerous when everyone is swinging the bat,” Kiermaier said. “You can do so much more damage. Obviously it’d be great to have 14 hits a game. It’s not going to happen for any team in baseball. Games like tonight show how dangerous we can be when all guys are clicking on all cylinders.”
The Rays bounced back after back-to-back losses to the Chicago White Sox, starting a pivotal series with a solid night both pitching and hitting to cool off the Twins, who had scored 27 runs in a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals. They had gone 6-3 in their last nine games to take control of the second wild card.
Rays outfielder Steven Souza collided with Minnesota catcher Mitch Garver on a play at the plate in the sixth inning and was replaced in the top of the seventh by Peter Bourjos in right field. There was no immediate word on Souza’s injury.
Tampa Bay led 2-1 after five innings, thanks to strong pitching from Cobb, who held the Twins to one run through five innings. Berrios kept the Rays in check until the sixth, and the Rays added nine runs in the last four innings.
“I thought Jose threw the ball early,” Molitor said. “He ran into some trouble there in the sixth, and we had to try to bail him out and couldn’t make enough pitches.”
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the second inning as Byron Buxton singled, stole second and scored on an RBI single by Max Kepler. Those were the Twins’ only two hits Cobb allowed through five innings, allowing the Rays to catch up at the plate.
Tampa Bay tied the game on Dickerson’s second-inning solo home run — his 26th of the season.
Kiermaier doubled to lead off the game and took third on a passed ball with no outs but was stranded there.
In the third, Kiermaier led off with a single, stole second and scored on a two-out bloop single by Longoria, which dropped in front of Kepler in right field for a 2-1 lead.
Berrios struck out seven batters in the first five innings, but gave up five hits.
NOTES: Rays RHP Chris Archer, who left Saturday’s start in the first inning with forearm tightness, was examined Monday and found to have no structural damage in his arm. He’ll play catch on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated afterward. ... Twins 1B Joe Mauer, who had one of the Twins’ three hits Monday, came in with a .392 career average at Tropicana Field, the highest for any player at the stadium. He extended his hitting streak to 14 games, a season high. ... The Rays designated LHP Adam Kolarek for assignment Monday before the game, selecting INF Trevor Plouffe from Triple-A Durham. Kolarek cleared waivers and was send outright to Durham.