Twins 16, Devil Rays 4

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Ron Gardenhire watched from the dugout as his players crossed the plate with smiles on their faces.

Finally, the injury-riddled Twins had something to laugh about.

Corey Koskie hit two of Minnesota’s five home runs, going back to back with pinch-hitter Matthew LeCroy in the seventh inning to lead the Twins over Tampa Bay Devil Rays 16-4 Tuesday night for just their fourth win in 12 games.

“It’s nice to sit in there and hit for a while,” Gardenhire said after his team scored six runs in a long fifth inning. “We’ve been playing pretty hard and the balls started falling in tonight.

Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones also homered and Carlos Silva (6-3) pitched seven strong innings for Minnesota, which scored a season-high 16 runs.

“What’s amazing is that everybody knows we’re in a funk, but the clubhouse was loose today,” LeCroy said. “That’s the nature of this ballclub.”

Minnesota will have even more fun as players come off the disabled list. The Twins get starting catcher Joe Mauer back on Wednesday following his nearly month-long stint on the DL. Second baseman Luis Rivas (strained right groin) is also expected back soon.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get this kid going,” Gardenhire said of Mauer, who is expected to be eased back into the lineup slowly.

Tino Martinez and Robert Fick hit two-run homers for the Devil Rays, who had a season-high four errors, along with three wild pitches and eight walks.

Silva allowed five hits and two runs. He lost his three previous starts after winning his first five decisions.

“Today I just tried to relax a little more,” Silva said. “I think today was my day.”

Paul Abbott (2-5) allowed seven runs, six earned, and five hits in four-plus innings, while walking four and striking out two.

“Sometimes these things are kind of predicated on the guy who starts the game,” Abbott said. “I didn’t do my part and put us in a hole.”

Jose Offerman doubled with one out in the second and Henry Blanco followed with an infield single to Abbott, who overthrew first, allowing Offerman to score and Blanco to take second.

Blanco went to third on the first of Abbott’s two wild pitches and scored on Lew Ford’s two-out RBI single to make it 3-0.

The Twins added an unearned run in the third on first baseman Fick’s double error. Fick misplayed a grounder, allowing Koskie to score, then his poor throw to the plate allowed Jones to take second.

“What an ugly game,” manager Lou Piniella said. “We just got blown out.”

“We’ll just come out and play tomorrow. … What are you going to do?”

Martinez’s ninth homer of the season, a two-run shot off Silva in the fourth inning, made it 4-2, but the Twins quickly extended their lead with a season-high six runs in the fifth inning.

After Abbott walked Doug Mientkiewicz to lead off the inning, Koskie followed with his seventh homer to make it 6-2.

Cristian Guzman snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a two-run double off John Halama to make it 8-2. The Twins scored another run on Jason Standridge’s wild pitch and made it 10-2 on Michael Cuddyer’s sacrifice fly.

In the sixth, Jones hit a two-run homer off Standridge to make it 12-2. The homer snapped an 0-for-20 slide for Jones.

LeCroy hit a two-run shot off Standridge in the seventh and Koskie followed with a solo shot for the seventh multihomer game of his career. It was thefirst time Minnesota has hit back-to-back homers this year.

Notes

LeCroy is 2-for-2 with two homers and six RBIs as a pinch hitter this season. … Minnesota C Joe Mauer, on the DL since April 7, has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester of the International League. 1B Justin Morneau was optioned down to Rochester. … Martinez moved into 92nd place on the career home run list with 308. He has hit safely in 10-of-11 games and 17-of-19. … Standridge allowed eight hits (three homers) and six runs in 3 2-3 innings andis now 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA and five homers allowed in 3 games this season.

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