Minneapolis, MN – Desmond Jennings scorched a pair of run- scoring doubles, while six Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout, as the Rays blanked the Minnesota Twins, 7-0, on Saturday in the middle test of a three-game set at Target Field.
Yunel Escobar and Sean Rodriguez each registered an RBI and two runs scored, while Evan Longoria and Jose Lobaton added an RBI apiece for the Rays, who have won three straight games to move into a tie with Texas atop the AL wild card race. The Rangers lost to Oakland earlier on Saturday.
Matt Moore made the start for Tampa Bay and fanned five over three scoreless innings of work before a 2-hour, 11-minute rain delay in the middle of the fourth inning prevented the left-hander from returning to the game.
Brandon Gomes (1-1) picked up the win after spinning a perfect fourth in relief of Moore.
"I thought Gomes really came in and put some structure to the game, because he was throwing strikes," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Pedro Florimon collected one of Minnesota's four hits, as the Twins were blanked for the second straight night to extend their losing streak to four games.
Andrew Albers (2-3) was tagged for four runs on six hits over four frames to absorb the loss.
"I felt like I made a couple of good pitches, and they found holes," Albers said.
The Rays reached Albers for a run in the second on Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to center before doubling their lead in the third when Longoria laced a two- out double to right to score Lobaton, who led off the frame with a single.
Tampa Bay tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth, as Escobar capped a string of three straight one-out singles with a run-scoring base hit to center to make it 3-0.
Lobaton followed with a sac fly to center for a 4-0 cushion before the rain forced a lengthy delay in the middle of the inning.
Once the rain subsided and play resumed, the Rays pushed two more runs across in the sixth when Rodriguez worked a one-out walk and Escobar singled before Jennings stroked a double to left to score both runners for a 6-0 edge.
Jennings added another RBI double in the eighth to account for the final margin.
Albers is winless in his last six starts ... Minnesota has lost all six meetings with Tampa Bay this season and has dropped 11 straight against the Rays overall ... Tampa Bay went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.