Nathan Eovaldi chased in 3rd, Rays drop second straight to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Paul Molitor said Minnesota’s recent 1-8 road trip was one of the worst he’s experienced in a long career in baseball. The Twins‘ manager is feeling much better about their homestand.

Joe Mauer homered and drove in four runs, and the Twins held on for a 11-8 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Jake Cave had three hits and a pair of RBIs, and Robbie Grossman added three hits to help Minnesota win for the eighth time in nine games on its homestand.

“I think we all think this homestand was much needed and it was timely coming off the heels of one of the worst trips I experienced in terms of finding ways to win,” Molitor said.

Trevor Hildenberger (2-2) struck out the side in the seventh to pick up the win in relief of starter Jake Odorizzi.

Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi (3-4) gave up eight runs and nine hits with two walks in 2 2/3 innings. Rookie Jake Bauers hit a three-run homer for the Rays, who climbed within a run before the Twins pulled away late. 

“Look, we score eight runs, we’re going to win more games than not, for sure,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “But it was just too little, too late probably. We had some good at-bats against Odorizzi, put some pressure on them. They had to go to their bullpen early, but their bullpen came in and did a pretty nice job of limiting and ultimately quieting us.” 

Odorizzi had allowed just two runs over 17 innings in his previous three starts. Eovaldi had given up two runs in 19 innings over his three previous outings. Neither could keep the run going.

Eovaldi saw his ERA rise from 3.35 to 4.59 in his shortest outing of the season.

“I definitely felt they came out swinging,” Eovaldi said. “They were a lot more aggressive, but I wasn’t ahead of the guys. I felt behind a couple batters, and I just should have done a better job of making my pitches.” 

Odorizzi faltered after being given an 8-1 lead in his first start against his former club. He gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

“It’s kind of on us or are we going to roll over and disassemble this,” Odorizzi said of the feeling after the road trip. “I think everyone has responded the right way. Everyone wants to go out and do their job, contribute. It’s nice when you don’t do yours, everybody does theirs and they contribute for a win. That’s all we need.”

BAUERS POWER

Bauers had a home run in the fourth overturned following a replay review that showed the ball hit the top of the overhang in right field. He was caught by cameras lifting weights in the dugout after the near-miss and came back an inning later with a no-doubt homer over the high wall in right-center field.

“So (teammate Mallex Smith) had his where his home run got overturned, and he was doing push-ups and hit one a couple days later,” Bauers said. “So once I came around and scored, Mallex came up and brought up some dumbbells for me and told me to knock out some different workouts. So credit to him on the second one.”

SNELL GETS HIS SHOT

Rays left-hander Blake Snell was named to the American League All-Star team on Friday as an injury replacement for Cleveland’s Corey Kluber.

“It’s cool,” Snell said of his first All-Star trip. “I knew I deserved it. Knew I put in the work. It’s just awesome. It’s a childhood dream and something that I’ve look forward to for a long time. To be able to do it and say I did it, nobody can take that away from me.”

It’s the ninth consecutive season Tampa Bay has had a pitcher named to the All-Star team. Only the New York Yankees have had more selections in a row with 12.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: RHP Chaz Roe underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus. Roe is expected to return in September. … INF Christian Arroyo (10-day disabled list, left oblique strain) left Thursday’s Triple-A rehab game with left hand discomfort, but Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said all tests were negative.

Twins: OF Byron Buxton had to leave his game with Triple-A Rochester on Thursday with pain in his left hand/wrist area. Manager Paul Molitor said X-rays didn’t show any issue and that he hasn’t heard the results of an MRI. Molitor said he’s optimistic it’s a “minor strain” and wasn’t sure if Buxton will have to go on the disabled list.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Chris Archer (3-4, 4.41 ERA) will look for improvement in his second start off the disabled list on Saturday. Archer lasted just 3 1/3 innings in his last outing, giving three runs in a no-decision against Detroit. It was his shortest outing of the season after not pitching since June 2.

Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (9-7, 3.41) starts for Minnesota before heading to his first All-Star game next week. Berrios gave up one run in seven innings to beat Kansas City in his last start on July 9.