Zobrist And Longoria Carry Rays Over Twins 6-2
MINNEAPOLIS -- Not even the All-Star break could cool off the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ben Zobrist homered and Evan Longoria had three RBIs to lead the Rays to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Alex Cobb (5-6) allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings and Matt Joyce added an RBI single as the Rays continue playing themselves back into contention and impressing manager Joe Maddon.
Trevor Plouffe homered for the Twins, a two-run shot in the third highlighted by a fan leaning over the railing in left-center and making a great catch.
Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the third on Longoria's bases-loaded double that soared just beyond the reach of right fielder Oswaldo Arcia.
The Twins could have escaped the inning with minimal damage, but a come-backer off the bat of Desmond Jenning ricocheted off the glove of starting pitcher Kyle Gibson (8-8), ruining a possible double play.
Zobrist walked and Longoria cleared the bases after Joyce popped out.
"If I field my position there in the third inning and get a double play, or if it turns out if I let the ball go, (Brian) Dozier's right up in the middle in his shift, it's a double play and the defense gets me out of the inning," Gibson said.
After Plouffe's home run, Zobrist made it 5-2 in the fifth with a two-run homer off Gibson that bounced off the top of the limestone overhang in right field.
Both teams need to get off to a hot start in the second half if they want to contend for a playoff spot instead of trade away veterans before the deadline.
The Rays had a losing record at the All-Star break for the first time since 2007, but won 11 of 15 heading into the break. Since 2010, Tampa Bay holds the best record in baseball after the All-Star break.
With the state silhouette still mowed in the center-field grass, Minnesota played its first game back at Target Field after hosting the All-Star game on Tuesday.
The Twins added Kendrys Morales in early June to bolster their offense and try to remain in contention, but have faltered since. They did win five of their last six before the break and kicked off a 10-game homestand Friday.
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