By Michael Pagano
The Minnesota Twins got off to a red-hot start against the Tampa Rays inconsistent starter Nathan Eovaldi at Target Field Friday night.
Brian Dozier drove in Joe Mauer with a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0. With some clutch two-out hitting by the Twins, they were able to drive in three more runs and make the score 4-0 after the first. It looked like the Rays were out of the game early on after Eovaldi turned in 2.2 innings having given up 8 earned runs, and the Twins had an 8-1 lead.
The Rays were able to fight back behind the solid performance out of the bullpen by Andrew Kittredge, who turned in 2.1 innings and only gave up one earned run.
During this time the Rays were able to touch up Twins starter Jake Odorizzi, who was making his first start of the season against his former team. This was led by the big bat of rookie first baseman Jake Bauers, who scored a run in the top of the fourth after a overturned home run call that was turned into a double.
Odorizzi was cruising along going into the fifth inning when the first two Rays hitters got hits. Bauers proceeded to bring everyone home with a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. After a hit batter, Odorizzi’s night was done after 4.1 innings and six runs given up, with five of them being earned.
The Twins bullpen pitched well, as it only gave up two earned runs after the Rays got the game to within one run. One of these runs was a one-out home run by Joey Wendle in the ninth inning as Fernando Rodney tried to shut the door.
Rodney shut the door for a thrilling 11-8 win that really gave fans their money’s worth in what amounted to a 3 hour and 23 minute game. Jake Cave and Joe Mauer were the heroes for the Twins as Cave put together three hits, being a homer away from the cycle. Mauer had four RBIs on the night, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. The Twins have a quick turnaround with a 1:10 p.m. day game with newly named All Star Jose Berrios taking the mound.