Devil Rays 4, Twins 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Minnesota starter Carlos Silva left after six scoreless innings with an upset stomach, and he wasn’t the only one feeling lousy after a rare failure by the Twins’ bullpen.
Greg Norton and Ty Wigginton hit consecutive homers in the seventh inning, helping the Tampa Bay Devil Rays win 4-2 over the Twins on Wednesday night for their first victory over Minnesota in more than two years.
Minnesota’s lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL wild-card chase was cut to a half-game.
Silva allowed one hit, one walk and had two strikeouts before departing.
“It caught everybody off guard,” Minnesota pitching coach Rick Anderson said. “He was pretty much cruising. In the sixth inning, he was outstanding. Yeah, it caught everybody off guard. It’s disappointing. He was throwing the ball outstanding. You know, this time of year everybody is hurt and beat up. What do you do?”
Tampa Bay, which had scored once in the first 24 innings of the three-game series, took a 3-2 lead when Norton hit a two-run homer and Wigginton had a solo shot off reliever Pat Neshek (3-1), who gave up three runs and three hits in one-third of an inning.
“Greg did the hard part,” Wigginton said. “He tied it up, and that was a big knock. I think it changed the momentum.”
“I was lucky,” Norton said. “I’m being serious. My swing has been horrible. I couldn’t hit a fastball away to save my life. He just missed with a pitch middle in.”
Delmon Young added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 4-2 as the Devil Rays snapped a 14-game losing streak against Minnesota that extended to June 3, 2004.
“I think the big thing here is we had a pitcher going along there pretty good, probably throwing as good as you can, and then all of a sudden a bad stomach takes him out of the ballgame and that kind of put us in a little bit of a hot spot,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We just have to move on. A little frustrating, but what can you do? If you can’t go, you can’t go.”
Silva needed only 59 pitches to get through six innings.
“All of a sudden he was done,” Gardenhire said. “When he came out after six, he said that’s it. He feels like he’s going to throw up, which made me feel like I was going to throw up.”
Silva said he “hadn’t been feeling good the whole game.”
“I didn’t want to say, ‘No, I can’t do it,”’ Silva said, “but I said to myself I’m starting to feel a little bit weary. We have the best bullpen in the league.”
It was just the eighth loss for the Twins’ bullpen this season, and the second time a Minnesota reliever has been charged with a loss since the All-Star break.
“We had to kind of rush and get a bullpen going,” Gardenhire said. “We got the kid going and it didn’t work out. Neshek has been throwing the ball great. They just whacked a couple pitches on him and before you know it, we’re losing.”
Joe Mauer and Rondell White homered for the Twins, who trail AL Central-leading Detroit by four games. The Twins and Tigers, who lost 5-4 in 10 innings to Seattle, begin a four-game series Thursday night at Minnesota.
Seth McClung pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Mauer finished 1-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .345. He went 3-for-26 with one extra base hit—a double—over his previous eight games.
Hammel allowed one run and three hits over six innings in his fifth career start.
“He set the tone for us until we got them late,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
Tampa Bay LHP Casey Fossum will have shoulder surgery Friday. He could be ready for spring training next year. … Twins LHP Francisco Liriano (strained left elbow) threw 50 pitches during a three-inning simulated game. He could rejoin the rotation around Sept. 14. … Young has a hit in seven of nine games since being called up from Triple-A Durham on Aug. 30. … Wigginton has 20 homers this season, and 14 have either tied the game or put Tampa Bay ahead. … Camp tied the team record for wins by a reliever in one season. Only injured starter Scott Kazmir (left shoulder) has more wins (10) for the Devil Rays this year.