Things got off to an inauspicious start for the Rays when a Dozier double quickly became a Miguel Sano sac-fly RBI in the top of the first inning. The Rays, who have been known to fall victim to the power of a one-run lead, were not about to let the early inning foible best them so soon, though.
Some flashes of defensive brilliance kept the score 1-0 through until the third, when C.J. Cron blasted a two-run homer, his third of the season, to a man in the outfield who didn’t even lose his radio broadcast headphones as he caught the ball. The fan even ran his cowbell as he coolly reclaimed his seat. MVP fan.
Blake Snell could have let the early run shake him, but he looked confident with his pitches and stayed in the zone in spite of yielding an early lead. In fact, both Snell and Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson were playing so well, the game continued at a quick clip through the seventh inning without any serious scoring pressure from either team.
A bad catch attempt by Carlos Gomez allowed Robbie Grossman to sneak in a double on what should have been an out. Joey Wendle made a tremendous out in the same inning with an impossible looking catch and quickly turned it back to home player to keep Grossman from making an attempt to score.
Wendle wasn’t done yet. In the bottom of the seventh his lobbed an incredible triple, showing hustle right off home plate. This is already his second triple of the year. Ramos got a long one-hop double to score Wendle, giving the Rays a 3-1 lead and another runner in scoring position. It was enough to drive Gibson from the game, but the Rays had more pop left. Mallex Smith continues his red-hot run with a single.
Denard Span, with all the patience in the world for Gabriel Moya’s utterly insane pitch routine, fouled off several pitches before getting one he liked and nailing it in the gap for a double, scoring two runs in the process. Sales of Span jerseys will certainly be on the climb after the last week.
Cron? Oh, no big deal, just another 2-run homer. To almost the exact same place his first one went (as in, the kid who caught it was 4 seats away from the guy who caught the first one). Consistency at its finest.
Snell’s final line after seven complete innings was excellent: 100 pitches, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. Unfortunately Matt Andriese struggled early in relief, with the first two runners getting on base and bringing the top of the order around. A 6-4-3 double play got him out of the jam. Phew.
Oh my Daniel Robertson! A solo home run to dead center to pile onto the lead. 8-1. Then Hechavarria singled, scoring Wendle, and Span singled, scoring Smith. 10-1. The Rays head to the top of the ninth to shut it down.
Andriese yet again struggled, allowing two singles, just to keep things interesting. A 5-4-3 double play kept the Twins at one run and the Rays officially win the series, heading for a sweep tomorrow.