Johnny Damon’s recent tear helped the Tampa Bay Rays end their
homestand on a high note.
All-Star David Price can help get their road trip started in
Tampa Bay looks to continue its dominance against the Minnesota
Twins on Monday when the Rays begin a seven-game trip.
Damon went 3 for 5 with a three-run triple and four RBIs as
Tampa Bay (47-37) beat St. Louis 8-3. It followed his 4 for 4
performance Saturday when the Rays defeated the Cardinals 5-1.
”Things just happened to go right these past two games,” Damon
said. ”We beat a very good team. A team that will possibly be
playoff bound and World Series bound. It’s good to beat a very good
team, especially here at home, where we haven’t been playing
Damon is hitting .372 with nine RBIs during an 11-game hitting
streak against the Twins. He went 5 for 13 with three RBIs in Tampa
Bay’s three-game sweep in Minnesota from April 27-29.
”It’s just everything that he does,” manager Joe Maddon said.
”We need that kind of influence here. He just handles it as well
as it possibly can be handled. The way he goes about his
With 2,661 hits, Damon is two behind Nellie Fox for 68th on the
The Rays have won four straight on the road and five in a row at
Target Field, streaks Price (8-6, 3.43 ERA) looks to help
Selected to his second straight All-Star game, Price ranks in
the top 10 in the AL in victories, strikeouts and innings pitched.
The left-hander allowed two runs and struck out a season high-tying
12 through 7 2-3 innings Tuesday against Cincinnati, though he
didn’t earn a decision.
Price is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 24 strikeouts in three career
starts against Minnesota.
Tampa Bay has won six of the first seven meetings this season,
with scheduled Twins starter Brian Duensing (5-7, 4.69) getting the
lone victory April 17.
Duensing allowed two runs in seven innings in that contest, and
the left-hander has alternated wins and losses his last five
starts. He beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 on Tuesday despite
allowing four runs and walking a season-high four in five
He’ll look to help keep Minnesota (36-46) rolling after the
Twins rallied for a 9-7 victory Sunday against Milwaukee, their
fourth win in five games. The lone loss in that stretch came
Saturday, when Minnesota blew a seven-run lead and lost 8-7.
Michael Cuddyer, selected as the Twins’ only All-Star, went 2
for 4 with a pair of RBI singles.
”If you’re not able to put one particular game in your rearview
mirror, you’re not going to have too much success,” said Cuddyer,
who is 5 for 27 versus the Rays this season.
Jim Thome hit his 595th homer in the fourth inning Sunday, and
Danny Valencia capped a four-run seventh with a two-run single.
Against the Rays though, the Twins’ offense has struggled.
Minnesota hasn’t scored more than four runs in any of the seven
games and is hitting .213.
Joe Mauer is hitting .400 in 34 games lifetime versus the Rays,
but this will be the first time he’s faced them this season. He
went 1 for 3 on Sunday and is hitting .370 during his eight-game
Maddon said third baseman Evan Longoria will be back in the
Rays’ lineup after having Sunday off.