And a kapow! single from Carlos Pena and a Jeff Keppinger doubled started the second. Ryan Roberts cracked a hot grounder to third, and it deflected off Jamey Carroll's glove to put the Rays up 3-1. Jose Molina tossed his bat past Carroll, causing many Twins fans to suspect maybe Carroll had lost a step. Molina decided he was more effective with the bat in his hand and knocked an opposite-field RBI single for a 4-1 Rays lead.
Jennings then lined a double just past Josh Willingham's glove. By then, the Twins had already roused their bullpen. Joyce dropped the bat head on another Cole De Vries pitch to double home another pair of runs -- Rays 7, Twins 1. And that was it for DeVries -- 12 batters, 7 runs and 4 outs, all on Ks. Evan Longoria then hit what might have been a double, but was just an RBI single on his no-running rules. And that's how Jeremy Hellickson got an 8-1 lead by the second inning.
Hellboy did not have a great game, but managed to get through 5.0 innings (98 pitches, 3 ER). Molina added 2 runs on another single and B.J. Upton blappered a double to left to put them up 12-3, though, so whutevs. Burke Badenhop closed out the two final innings, giving up some hard hits and three runs, but all told, Rays win 12-6.
Notes from the game:
- Um. So Ben Zobrist made two great plays in the first inning, retiring the quick Ben Revere on a slow grounder and then ranging to his left to retire Morneau out of the shift. Call me crazy maybe, but he looked sharp in both running throws.
Maddon mentioned in the bottom of the second how, indeed, the Rays were putting Zo at short with the fly ball starters -- but then he also mentioned the ground ball tendencies of the opposing teams, which is a wrinkle many of us had not thought much about.
- Zobrist also snared a grounder headed up the middle with two runners on, one out in the 5th inning, but his toss was offline to Roberts, who astutely recovered and kept the tag on Revere -- who slid past the base. It was a strange play, with a not-great toss, but overall showed good athleticism from Zobrist and good baseball smarts from Roberts.
- J.P. Howell's scoreless appearance in the 6th inning tied him with Fernando Rodney and the team record for 22-straight scoreless relief innings.
- Tragically, the Yankees and Orioles also had blowout wins of their own, so the AL East did not change. But the Athletics lost, so at least now both the Tigers and As are just a half game up in the Wild Card race, with the O's up a full game..