Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Miller has key RBI as Rays hold off Twins

The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. beats the tag of Kurt Suzuki to score on Mikie Mahtook’s sacrifice fly in the fifth, tying the score at 2.

Getty Images

The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. beats the tag of Kurt Suzuki to score on Mikie Mahtook’s sacrifice fly in the fifth, tying the score at 2.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays were looking for something, anything, to break out of the skid that had extended to five straight losses and 11 of 13.

But before they had to get too desperate — well short of an Indian rain man former manager Joe Maddon once resorted to, clubhouse sacrifice or other fiendish tactics some used in the minors but said they couldn't share in a family newspaper — the Rays on Friday did it the old-fashioned way.

Brad Miller came up with the clutch hit they were desperately seeking, singling with two outs in the eighth to deliver the tiebreaking run in what ended up a 4-2 win over the Twins.

"We've been starving for that kind of play or hit,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "It was needed. I was really happy we got it. The entire dugout was really happy."

Taylor Motter started the rally with a bloop single to right, and went to third when Hank Conger singled and rightfielder Max Kepler mishandled the ball. Miller then slapped Twins starter Ricky Nolasco's 107th and final pitch to right for a single.

"Glad I got it done,'' Miller said. "The biggest thing is we need wins, and when we all play to win, I think everything takes care of itself.''

After six innings — and a career-high 120 pitches — from Jake Odorizzi, and three outs by Erasmo Ramirez, who ended up with his seventh win, the Rays put the lead in the hands of Xavier Cedeno, who got Joe Mauer to fly out, and then Alex Colome, who made it more interesting than they wanted, command clearly lacking after five days off.

Colome got the second out of the eighth, loaded the bases on a double and a pair of walks then struck out Kepler. Logan Morrison homered in the ninth to provide some cushion, but it still wasn't easy. Colome hit the first batter and gave up a single to the third to face the Twins' top hitters, but got Mauer on a lineout to left and Brian Dozier on a pop-out for his 13th save in as many tries.

The Rays (23-30) grabbed an early lead. With two outs in the first, red-hot Evan Longoria launched a 1-and-1 pitch just over the centerfield wall for his team-leading 11th homer. That continued a good trip for Longoria, who is 9-for-20 in the first five games, with multiple hits in three.

Odorizzi couldn't hold it though, allowing a leadoff triple to Twins rookie Byron Buxton in the third who after a pop-out and a walk by Mauer, scored on a grounder to short. The Twins made it 2-1 when Mauer scored from second on a single ahead of the throw by rightfielder Steven Souza Jr.

The Rays tied it in the fifth as Souza showed some hustle, Cash noting his "excellent baserunning" and great reads. Souza led off with a double, went to third on Corey Dickerson's infield out — which was much better than a strikeout — and scored on Mikie Mahtook's fly to center.

After Thursday's game, Matt Moore said he and other starters felt they often had "more in the tank" after being taken out.

Cash said he didn't have a great reason for letting Odorizzi stay out there for 120 pitches Friday, but Odorizzi said he felt good in doing do. And probably even better about getting the opportunity, especially for getting to finish the sixth after walking the leadoff man. "I'm glad (Cash) has the confidence in me, and I followed through,'' he said.

Though he only went six innings, Odorizzi did continue his solid run, a fourth straight start of allowing two or fewer runs.

Even though it was just one victory, and over the only team in the American League with a worse record. the Rays felt good about it.

Before celebrating their first win since last Saturday, and second since May 24, the Rays had a sigh of relief.

"There's a lot of excitement,'' Odorizzi said over the blaring music in the clubhouse. "It's nice to get the monkey off the back. It's been a long time since we won a game. It's nice to have the energy of a win, and hopefully this kinds of propels us the rest of the road trip and gets us back in that winning mode.''

Miller has key RBI as Rays hold off Twins 06/03/16 [Last modified: Saturday, June 4, 2016 2:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  2. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win


    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  4. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  5. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.