Twins win 5th straight, beat Rays 11-7 behind 3 homers
ST. PETERSBURG (AP) - Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor didn't think it was pretty, but the end result was a familiar and welcome one.
Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario all homered as Minnesota beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-7 Tuesday night for the Twins' fifth straight win.
Minnesota led 5-2 after 2 1/2 innings, but a three-run third by the Rays tied it. Dozier's two-run drive off reliever Matt Andriese (3-4) put Minnesota ahead 7-5 in the fourth. It was his third homer in 11 at-bats against Tampa Bay this season.
Eduardo Escobar hit a two-run double during a three-run fifth that extended the Twins' lead to 10-6.
The Twins went ahead 11-7 on Rosario's seventh-inning shot.
"It had an ugly feel, you never felt safe," Molitor said after his team pulled within half a game of the Rangers for the second AL wild card spot.
Rays catcher Curt Casali strained his left hamstring on the way to first base after hitting his ninth homer since the All-Star break and 10th overall in the fifth. He had to leave the game.
"It was really weird," Casali said. "It's never happened to me. I've never seen it. It stinks right now. On top of a loss, it's not a good day."
Casali will have an MRI exam Wednesday.
"It just started getting tight on me," he said. "It didn't feel very good going around the bases. Didn't want to injure it more. Took as it as slow as I could. I had to get around the bases somehow."
Sano opened the scoring on a towering three-run drive to center off Nathan Karns in the first.
J.R. Graham (1-1) allowed one run over two-thirds of an inning for his first major league win.
Torii Hunter had a two-run single in the third that put Minnesota ahead 5-2.
James Loney had an RBI single during a two-run second for the Rays. He added a two-run double before Kevin Kiermaier ended Ervin Santana's night with an RBI single that tied it at 5 in the third.
Loney was in the lineup after appealing a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine announced by Major League Baseball earlier Tuesday for making contact with umpire Paul Nauert after striking out and being ejected in Saturday's game at Oakland.
Santana allowed five runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings. Karns went three innings, giving up five runs, four hits and four walks.
Tampa Bay left fielder Desmond Jennings left with a bruised left knee. He was playing in his 10th game after missing 96 contests due to bursitis in the same knee that required surgery.
Jennings is not expected to play Wednesday.
Twins: OF Aaron Hicks (left hamstring) is hitting in a cage and could return early next month. ... RHP Phil Hughes (back) is about ready to play catch. ... A decision on whether RHP Blaine Boyer (right elbow) will need a short rehab assignment should be made by Wednesday. ... RHP Ricky Nolasco (right ankle) is jogging and playing catch.
Rays: LHP Jake McGee (left knee) hasn't ruled out returning the last week of the season.
It took 2 hours, 7 minutes to play the first 4 1-2 innings. The game-time overall in front of an announced crowd of 9,632 was 3:24. ... Hunter has 55 RBIs in 118 games against Tampa Bay. ... Santana is winless in his last six starts, allowing 31 earned runs over 30 1-3 innings. ... Karns entered with 18 starts this season where he allowed two runs or fewer.
Rosario set a team rookie record with his 10th triple this season in the ninth. Tony Oliva had held the mark with nine, set in 1964.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (11-9), coming off a one-hit shutout against Houston on Thursday, faces Hunter — his favorite player growing up — on Wednesday night. Archer is 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA in four starts against Minnesota.
Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey (2-1) will start Wednesday night.