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Twins 6, Rays 2: Rays lose as surplus infielders excel

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1st inning: Rays jump on top 1-0 in the first.

Blake Snell allowed a one out single to Joe Mauer. Max Kepler and Miguel Sano struck out swinging to end the top of the first.

The Rays started things off with a lead off single by Logan Forsythe. After Kevin Kiermaier flew out and Evan Longoria struck out he Rays strung some hits together. Brad Miller singled to left to put runners on first and second. Nick Franklin came through with a single to right field to score the first run of the game.

3rd inning: Twins tie the game 1-1.

After both teams went down in order in the second, Jorge Polanco led off the third with a single to left field. After Byron Buxton struck out swinging Polanco swiped second base on a ball in the dirt. Brian Dozier tied the game up with a triple to the right-center field gap. Snell walked Mauer ahead of back to back strikeouts of Kepler and Sano.

5th-6th innings: Rays fail to capitalize on opportunities. Brad Miller launches to put Rays up 2-1.

The game was uneventful until the Rays put the first two runners on base to start the fifth inning. Steven Souza, Jr. started the inning off with a Brandon Guyer tribute as he was hit by a pitch. Tim Beckham followed with a double on a line to left field to put runners on second and third with no outs. The Rays failed to score as Luke Maile, Logan Forsythe, and Kevin Kiermaier struck out swinging.

Blake Snell would leave with one out in the top of sixth after walking Max Kepler and allowing a single to Miguel Sano. Erasmo Ramirez extinguished the threat by inducing an infield popup by Kurt Suzuki and striking out Robbie Grossman.

After Evan Longoria sent a shot to the center field warning track, Brad Miller crushed a homer to the back wall in right field to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.

7th-9th innings: Twins take back lead behind two homers off Erasmo. Twins 6-2.

Erasmo Ramirez stayed in the game and walked the lead off hitter, Eduardo Escobar. After a sacrifice bunt by Jorge Polanco a pinch hitter was sent to the plate for Byron Buxton. The pinch hitter, Eddie Rosario, took a middle cut first pitch changeup to the deep right field bleachers to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh Tim Beckham lined another double to the left center field gap. Luke Maile and Logan Forsythe would leave him on second.

Erasmo stayed out in the eight and Miguel Sano absolutely smoked a fastball that was still going up when it landed in the left field bleachers to give the Twins a 4-2 lead.

A Tim Beckham error on a routine groundball to short started the inning on the wrong track. Garton allowed a single to Eddie Rosario to put runners on first and second with no outs. Brian Dozier sacrifice bunted the runners over. Joe Mauer hit a liner down the left field line that scored two to put the Twins up 6-2. Garton struck Kepler out looking. Sano hit a solid single to left field to put runners at first and third with two outs. Suzuki sent a weak fly ball to center to end the inning.

Franklin and Dickerson flew out to start the inning. Souza followed with a solid single, but Tim Beckham would end the game with a foul popup.

Final Thoughts:

Ervin Santana continued his string of eight starts that he’s been near untouchable. In his previous eight starts he allowed a 1.96 ERA over 55.0 innings. He held the Rays to two runs over 6.1 innings while striking out eight and walking none.

Snell had another good start. He wasn’t as efficient as you’d like, but it’s something he should learn in time. He worked through some tough spots to allow only the one run in 5.1 innings while striking out seven and walking two.

Rays had their opportunities, but couldn’t get the big hit to put a crooked number on the board despite great overall performances from Beckham, Miller, and Franklin. They combined to be one for seven with runners in scoring position.

Tim Beckham continues his hot second half in a very limited sample size. It looks like he doesn’t want to give up his MLB job with two more doubles today. In 39 PA since the all-star break Beckham is hitting .359/.375/.641.