MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rays tied a franchise record with 19 runs on Saturday as the offense delivered a record-setting performance in the late innings to get their road trip back on track.Tampa Bay racked up six runs off Twins ace Jose Berrios and punished the Minnesota bullpen in the later
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Rays tied a franchise record with 19 runs on Saturday as the offense delivered a record-setting performance in the late innings to get their road trip back on track.
Tampa Bay racked up six runs off Twins ace Jose Berrios and punished the Minnesota bullpen in the later innings in a 19-6 win at Target Field to snap a two-game skid. The Rays tallied five runs each in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings and became the first team in the live-ball era (since 1920) to record five or more runs in the final three frames. They went 11-for-20 with runners in scoring position and seven Rays players had multi-hit games.
All told, it was just the third time in franchise history that the Rays had accumulated 19 runs in a game, and the first time since July 29, 2006.
"It was fun, there's no doubt. The offense really came to life," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "And we did it against a really good pitcher … Offensively, we just kind of took off. I'm not sure what it was that clicked, but everybody just kept piecing it together. Getting big hit after big hit. It was nice."
Aside from a Max Kepler solo homer in the second inning, Chris Archer kept the Twins' bats in check and the Rays handed him an early lead when Wilson Ramos, Carlos Gomez and Mallex Smith all delivered run-scoring doubles in the fourth inning.
Archer struck out seven batters on the afternoon while walking just one, but the Twins ran his pitch count up early and Cash turned to his bullpen after just 4 1/3 innings.
"My stuff was probably better than it has been all year," Archer said. "[The Twins] are just hot right now. We did our thing offensively, but they still put up six runs. They had some really good at-bats against me early on -- [Eduardo Escobar] had like a 10-pitch at-bat."
Diego Castillo came on to replace Archer and worked his way out of a one-out jam. But the Twins ambushed Rays reliever Adam Kolarek for four runs on five hits and took a 6-4 lead that was highlighted by Escobar's two-out, RBI double.
The Rays quickly answered back in the seventh when Smith and Adeiny Hechavarria, the Rays' Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, each reached base to begin the inning and chased Berrios. Zach Duke came on and immediately yielded back-to-back RBI singles to Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy, and Joey Wendle would add a two-run triple later in the inning before Duke worked his way out of the inning.
"It was good to break out like that," Jake Bauers, who went 2-for-5 with a homer, said. "Obviously we were losing going into the seventh inning. I don't think anybody in here wanted to lose three straight, let alone the series if we did drop the game."
The Rays busted the game wide open in the eighth when C.J. Cron launched a two-run homer to cap off a five-run frame. Cron is now hitting .421 in 38 at-bats in the month of July.
In the ninth, the Twins turned to utility man and fan favorite Willians Astudillo to try to get through the inning without further depleting the bullpen. On the fourth pitch he threw, Gomez crushed a 396-foot homer to the left-field upper deck. Bauers added a two-run homer later in the inning to match the franchise record for runs in a game.
ON THE MOVE
Following Saturday's game, they Rays announced that right-hander Chih-Wei Hu has been optioned to Triple-A Durham. Hu threw five innings and allowed two runs against the Twins on Thursday. Tampa Bay will announce a corresponding move on Sunday.
HE SAID IT
"A year or two ago, I was at the same restaurant as Max Kepler. He was a rookie, I know he's from a different country, so I sent a bottle of wine over to his table. Just to be like, 'Congrats.' But then, that's the way he repays me. So I'm a little upset with myself for being such a nice guy, and then he returns the favor that way." -- Archer, on the solo homer Max Kepler hit off of him in the second inning on Saturday
Video: TB@MIN: Kepler opens the scoring with a solo homer
The Rays will finish out their four-game series with the Twins at 1:10 p.m. ET Sunday at Target Field. Tampa Bay will have another bullpen day, and Ryne Stanek will get the start. Stanek is 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 32 2/3 innings this season. The Twins will counter with rookie starter Fernando Romero (3-3, 4.38 ERA).
Jarrid Denney is an associate reporter for the Twins based in Minnesota.