ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Desmond Jennings had one of the Rays' team record four sacrifice flys and drove in three runs as Tampa Bay beat the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Sunday.
Jennings had a sacrifice fly during a two-run third and made it 5-0 in the fifth with a two-run homer off Francisco Liriano (0-3).
Liriano went five innings, allowing five runs, three hits and four walks. The left-hander has given up 22 runs, 25 hits and 13 walks over 16 1-3 innings this season.
Josh Willingham went 0 for 2, which ended his season-opening 15-game hitting streak that had tied Kirby Puckett's Twins' record set in 1994. Willingham walked once and was hit by a pitch.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead — on sacrifice flys by Jennings and Ben Zobrist — in the third without getting a hit. Liriano loaded the bases with no outs with two walks and a hit batter.
Evan Longoria got the Rays' first hit leading off the fourth, a high fly to left that struck an overhanging catwalk and then landed in shallow center. He scored to make it 3-0 on B.J. Upton's sacrifice fly.
Upton added another sacrifice fly in the eighth, which gave the Rays a team record fourth sac fly in one game.
Tampa Bay's Jeff Niemann didn't allow a hit until Clete Thomas' two-out single in the fifth. He left one inning later with the bases loaded and one out. After Jake McGee struck out Justin Morneau, pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit cut the Twins' deficit to 5-2 on a two-run single off Wade Davis.
Niemann (1-2) gave up two runs and three hits in 5 1-3 innings. His teammate at Rice University, Phil Humber, threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years as the Chicago White Sox beat Seattle 4-0 on Saturday.
The Twins went 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and were 4 for 27 overall in losing two of three to Tampa Bay.
NOTES: Minnesota RHP Nick Blackburn (right shoulder) threw a 52-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to pitch Tuesday night against Boston. ... Former Twins star Tony Oliva threw the ceremonial first pitch. He was inducted this weekend into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame, which is located at Tropicana Field. ... Minnesota RHP Jason Marquis (1-0) and Boston LHP Jon Lester (0-2) are the scheduled starters Monday night. ... The Rays are off on Monday.