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Rays pitchers shut out Twins

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Rays battled through the rain to beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0 at Target Field on Saturday night.

Rays starter Matt Moore handcuffed the Twins for three innings before the rains came, and the Tampa Bay bullpen followed suit the rest of the way. They pitched six more inning of shutout ball and extended the Rays' streak of dominance over the Twins to 11 games.

"They're just a good baseball team," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Those guys seem to find a way with their pitching staff. Their bullpen comes in and shut you down. They're a pretty good baseball team. They find ways to win ball games. That's why they're in a pennant race. We're not finding ways. We're missing opportunities and we're just over matched right now."

As a staff, the Rays bullpen gave up no runs on three hits, one walk and with five strike outs. Brandon Gomes, who came on in the fourth inning, picked up the win.

"I thought we did a great job throughout the bullpen," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought Gomes came in and really put some substance to the game, some structure to it, because he came and he was just throwing strikes."

For a second straight night against the Rays, the Twins' bats were cold and they were shut out. They followed up Friday's five-hit performance with four hits on Saturday night.

After the rain delay, the Rays took a 4-0 lead back out onto the field in the fourth and added to it in the sixth. Sean Rodriguez walked, Yunel Escobar singled and then Jose Lobaton doubled to score them both.

In the eighth, Tampa tacked on another run, as Escobar and Lobaton walked and Desmond Jennings doubled to left to score Escobar.

The Rays banged out 10 hits in the game. Giving up no runs in two games, the Rays won the three-game series.

Light rain fell throughout the early innings of the game, yet the undaunted Rays scored in the second inning. Wil Myers dropped a double just inside the first base line and moved to third on a groundout. He scored on Sean Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to center.

"Some bloops and blops rolling around on us, nothing too awful hard hit," Gardenhire said of the Rays' offense. "But we got behind and they kept adding on the more we went through the ball game. Not much offense (for us) -- four hits, nine strike outs. It's the same the story. Those guys are playing for something over there, they're really into it. And we didn't look like we were really getting after too much. "

The Rays extended their lead in the third after Jose Lobaton singled to left and Evan Longoria doubled down the right field line. Oswaldo Arcia had trouble picking up the ball -- enabling Lobaton to score from first.

In the third, the Rays scratched out three straight singles. Delmon Young scored on Escobar's single to center, and Rodriguez scored on Lobaton's sacrifice fly to center for a 4-0 lead.

Then the rains came, halting the game after 3 1/2 innings for more than two hours. Moore started very well, striking out four of the first five batters he faced. But he did not return from the delay, finishing with 60 pitches thrown in three innings, giving up no runs, one hit, three walks and notching five strike outs.

"Matt, I think his landing foot was, with the muddiness and the softness of the mound, was kind of bothering him a little bit," Maddon said. "But overall I thought he threw the ball well. He threw some really good curve balls. His was really good today. Throwing just 60 pitches -- in a perverse way this may help us down the road."

Albers, meanwhile, threw 73 pitches in four innings before the delay. He gave up four runs on six hits and one walk with one strikeout.

NOTES: The Rays have won 11 straight over the Twins (6-0 this season), and that is the second-longest winning streak against an opponent in Rays history. ... That 11-game losing streak is the longest for the Twins against any team since a 13-gamer vs. the Yankees ended in 2003. ... The Twins have set a franchise record for strikeouts (1,259) and trail only Houston (1,384) this season. ... The Rays and Red Sox have the only two infielders without a player making 10 errors this season. Yunel Escobar leads all active shortstops with a .989 fielding percentage.
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