The Tampa Bay Rays held off a late rally from the Minnesota Twins and hung on to win 4-3. They have now won a season-high eight straight games, and are 10-1 so far in July.
The Rays got on the board first, when Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce and Wil Myers tagged Twins starter Mike Pelfrey for consecutive one-out singles in the third inning. Pelfrey had been coming off of his best start of the season, when he shut out the Toronto Blue Jays for six innings in the Twins only win so far in July.
Meanwhile, Rays starter Matt Moore, who was just added to the AL All-Star team after the game, was dominant early on. Moore didn’t allow a single baserunner until he walked Joe Mauer with two outs in the fourth inning. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but Brian Dozier broke it up with a two-out double. Jamey Carroll then followed with an RBI single back up the middle, tying the game 1-1.
The Rays would strike right back in their half of the sixth inning, taking a 3-1 lead on back-to-back one-out homers by Luke Scott and Evan Longoria, their seventh and 18th homers of the year, respectively. James Loney followed up the home runs by hitting his 22nd double of the season, but Kelly Johnson struck out and Jose Lobaton flew out, stranding Loney at second.
After Moore retired the Twins in order in the top of the seventh inning, picking up his ninth and tenth strikeouts in the process, the Rays would add one more insurance run in their half of the inning. Last night’s hero, Ben Zobrist, was called upon to pinch-hit for Rodriguez, and he came through with a one-out triple. Then, after Joyce struck out, Myers picked up his third hit and second RBI of the game, singling on a ground ball back up the middle. After Scott drew a walk, the Twins brought in reliever Michael Tonkin to make his ML debut. Tonkin fell behind Longoria 2-0, but came back and struck him out on a 96-mph fastball, keeping it a 4-1 game.
Joe Maddon let Moore come back out to start the eighth inning. Moore got Aaron Hicks to fly out, but he then walked Clete Thomas and gave up a single to Pedro Florimon. The Rays then brought Alex Torres in from the bullpen. He got Dozier to fly out, but then walked Ryan Doumit, who was pinch-hitting for Carroll, to load the bases. That brought up Mauer, who singled to left, scoring both Thomas and Florimon and making it a 4-3 game. Maddon then brought in Joel Peralta, who struck out Trevor Plouffe to get the Rays out of the jam.
After the Rays went down in order in the bottom of the eighth inning, Maddon then brought in Jake McGee to get the save, since Fernando Rodney had pitched in each of the first three games of the series. McGee had a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts, earning his first career save. Moore picked up his 13th win on the season, which is tied for most in the AL.
The Rays will finish off their first half of the season with a three-game series against the Astros this weekend. The first game starts at 7:10 pm ET tomorrow night, with David Price (3-4, 4.18 ERA) facing off against Jarred Cosart, who will be making his ML debut.
About the Author
Written by Will Creager
I'm currently a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, studying math and sports journalism. Sports are my passion, especially baseball.