Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (81-66) «0112020107100
Minnesota (63-84)000000000041

Rays shut down Twins, hang onto wild-card lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon praised the Target Field grounds crew almost as much as he praised his own team after the Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0 on a rainy Saturday night.

"Their groundskeepers, that was a great job getting that field ready," said Maddon, whose team waited around through a 2 hour, 4 minute rain delay in the fourth inning before finishing off Minnesota.

"I know we won, but I would've said the same thing had we not won that game. It really had an awkward everything about it. Everything kind of worked out, so that was a great job on their part."

Matt Moore and five relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Rays held their wild-card lead.

The Rays teamed to blank the Twins for the second straight day, and threw their 15th shutout of the season. Tampa Bay beat Minnesota for the 11th time in a row.

Desmond Jennings hit a pair of RBI doubles as the Rays stayed 1 games ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.

Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each added two hits and an RBI.

After going through a stretch during which they lost 13 of 17, the Rays look more relaxed and have won three straight.

"Just finding ways to win. Hitting better with guys on base and in scoring position, we're finding a way to get them in," Jennings said. "Getting a few runs before the delay kind of relaxed us a bit."

After first pitch was delayed by 7 minutes, Tampa Bay took a 4-0 lead before the fourth-inning delay.

Moore threw 60 pitches and struck out five over three innings and didn't return after the delay. He has allowed only one earned run in 14 2/3 innings since coming off the disabled list earlier this month.

The short outing might end up being a good thing for the Rays down the stretch.

"Hopefully it will benefit me just this week," Moore said. "As far as my side work goes, hopefully I should be a little less sore those days."

Brandon Gomes (1-1) pitched the fourth inning and got the win.

The few fans remaining in Target Field cheered as the tarp was pulled off the infield, and the Rays went right back to work having their way with the Twins once the game resumed. Minnesota hasn't beat Tampa Bay since April 20 of last season.

Andrew Albers (2-3) allowed four runs in four innings for Minnesota. After winning his first two starts, the rookie hasn't won in more than a month.

The Twins haven't scored in the last 19 innings and have been outscored on their current three-game losing streak 36-5.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire would like to see a better effort, regardless of his team's position in the standings.

"Those guys are playing for something over there. They're into the game and we didn't look like we were really getting after it too much," he said. "And I guess the weather really bothered us a lot more, which is pretty disappointing. So, we'll have to go about our business, see if we can come back tomorrow and play. Disappointing though."

Jennings hit a double that scored Sean Rodriguez in the sixth. He hit another RBI double to the same spot in left that made it 7-0 in the eighth.

There's a reason the umpires waited so long for a break in the rain to resume this one. If the game would have been canceled in the fourth, the two teams would've started over on Sunday and likely played a doubleheader, erasing the four-run lead Tampa Bay had built.

Instead, the Rays have another win and are another step out of the hole they dug during their recent slump.

"It's getting better. You still want to see more," Maddon said. "What I'm starting to see is a greater looseness about the group. I think they're starting to relax a little bit."

Notes

Twins GM Terry Ryan said C Joe Mauer (concussion) didn't take batting practice or run the bases before the game, but he did do cardio work with team trainers. ... Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist -- hitless in his last 15 at-bats -- was given the night off. ... It was the sixth weather-affected game at Target Field this season. ... David Price (8-8, 3.45) will try to break a three-start losing streak when he starts for the Rays in Sunday's series finale. For Minnesota, Pedro Hernandez (3-1, 5.25) will make his first start against the Rays.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

D. Jennings
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

Y. Escobar
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

December 23, 2014
Fantasy Update: Matt Asiata (0:32)
December 14, 2014
TOPS: NFL news with Jason La Canfora (12/14)
(2:47)
December 9, 2014
Fantasy Update: Charles Johnson
(0:40)
December 2, 2014
La Canfora updates Adrian Peterson suspension
(3:57)
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF5022002 .246
Kelly Johnson, 2B4000123 .241
Evan Longoria, 3B5021024 .267
Wil Myers, RF5110002 .290
James Loney, 1B5000022 .301
Delmon Young, DH3110110 .262
   a-Luke Scott, PH-DH1000000 .243
Sean Rodriguez, LF2211100 .250
Yunel Escobar, SS3221101 .267
Jose Lobaton, C2111112 .256
Matt Moore, P0000000 .000
   Brandon Gomes, P0000000 .000
   Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
   Jamey Wright, P0000000 .000
   Roberto Hernandez, P0000000 .000
   Cesar Ramos, P0000000 .000
Totals35710658  
a-flied out for Young in the 9th
Batting
2B - Desmond Jennings 2 (28, Roenicke), Evan Longoria (36, Albers), Wil Myers (16, Albers)
SF - Sean Rodriguez (2), Jose Lobaton (2)
RBI - Desmond Jennings 2 (47), Evan Longoria (76), Sean Rodriguez (20), Yunel Escobar (55), Jose Lobaton (29)
2-OUT RBI - Desmond Jennings (23), Evan Longoria (34)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Escobar-Loney
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Moore 3100350 3.11
Brandon Gomes (W,1-1) 1000010 7.20
Wesley Wright 0.2100000 3.75
Jamey Wright 1.1000030 2.98
Roberto Hernandez 1100100 4.89
Cesar Ramos 2100010 4.40
WP - Matt Moore (13)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 60-31, Brandon Gomes 11-8, Wesley Wright 12-8, Jamey Wright 19-12, Roberto Hernandez 15-7, Cesar Ramos 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 4-0, Wesley Wright 1-1, Jamey Wright 1-0, Roberto Hernandez 1-1, Cesar Ramos 3-2
Batters Faced - Matt Moore 13, Brandon Gomes 3, Wesley Wright 3, Jamey Wright 4, Roberto Hernandez 4, Cesar Ramos 7
Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Alex Presley, CF4000021 .283
Brian Dozier, 2B3000111 .240
Ryan Doumit, DH3010120 .239
Oswaldo Arcia, RF4000023 .249
Trevor Plouffe, 3B4000010 .245
Josh Willingham, LF1000200 .210
   Clete Thomas, PR-LF1000010 .219
Chris Colabello, 1B4010011 .196
Chris Herrmann, C3010002 .218
Pedro Florimon, SS3010001 .228
Andrew Albers, P0000000 .000
   Josh Roenicke, P0000000 .000
   Shairon Martis, P0000000 .000
   Michael Tonkin, P0000000 .000
Totals30040410  
Batting
2B - Pedro Florimon (17, Wright)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Josh Willingham (1, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Andrew Albers (L,2-3) 4644110 3.81
Josh Roenicke 1.2321220 3.94
Shairon Martis 1.2111220 2.45
Michael Tonkin 1.2000030 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Andrew Albers 73-51, Josh Roenicke 43-24, Shairon Martis 32-19, Michael Tonkin 28-22
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Andrew Albers 2-9, Josh Roenicke 1-2, Shairon Martis 1-2
Batters Faced - Andrew Albers 19, Josh Roenicke 10, Shairon Martis 8, Michael Tonkin 5
Game Information
Attendance - 28541
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt