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Berrios tagged for 6 runs in rough loss to Rays

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins appeared to be heading for yet another win, taking the lead with a four-run sixth, only to see it fall apart with nightmarish seventh and eighth innings from the bullpen before giving way to position player Willians Astudillo pitching in the ninth.

The Twins were looking for their ninth win over their last 10 games, but the Rays rallied with five runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to hand Minnesota a blowout, 19-6 loss on Saturday afternoon at Target Field. All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios uncharacteristically struggled, getting charged with six runs on six hits over six-plus innings, while Zach Duke and Matt Belisle gave up a combined nine runs over two innings. Astudillo also surrendered five runs in the ninth, giving the Rays five runs in three straight frames.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins appeared to be heading for yet another win, taking the lead with a four-run sixth, only to see it fall apart with nightmarish seventh and eighth innings from the bullpen before giving way to position player Willians Astudillo pitching in the ninth.

The Twins were looking for their ninth win over their last 10 games, but the Rays rallied with five runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to hand Minnesota a blowout, 19-6 loss on Saturday afternoon at Target Field. All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios uncharacteristically struggled, getting charged with six runs on six hits over six-plus innings, while Zach Duke and Matt Belisle gave up a combined nine runs over two innings. Astudillo also surrendered five runs in the ninth, giving the Rays five runs in three straight frames.

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"It was really nice to see the rally that we put together to take the lead, but then as things go against you, often times they're ignited by a walk," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "And then it just kind of fell apart. Obviously, the old 5-5-5 area code at the end was a little bit too much."

Video: TB@MIN: Rosario drives in 2 with a double to center

After the Twins took a two-run lead in the sixth, keyed by a go-ahead two-run double from Eddie Rosario, Berrios came back out for the seventh, but promptly walked Mallex Smith and gave up a single to Adeiny Hechavarria before being removed for lefty Zach Duke.

"As a competitor, I kind of feel bad that I let my teammates down," Berrios said through an interpreter. "They put me out front in the game and I wasn't able to hold the other team."

Duke gave up an RBI on a bloop single to left from Kevin Kiermaier before Matt Duffy tied it on a first-pitch bleeder to right with Robbie Grossman unable to throw out Hechavarria at home. Jesus Sucre gave the Rays the lead with a shallow fly to right field to score Kiermaier, as Grossman looked like he didn't think Kiermaier was going to tag on a ball that went just 234 feet, per Statcast™. It turned out to be a costly defensive miscue as, after an intentional walk, Joey Wendle blew the game open with a two-run triple off Duke.

Video: TB@MIN: Sucre plates Kiermaier with a sacrifice fly

"I'm not sure he was committed," Molitor said of Kiermaier. "I think he kind of took a peek and peripherally saw him break, and I think he was prepared to hold up, and then he saw the slip and he decided to challenge him. That's what it looked like to me."

It spoiled the comeback effort for the Twins, who trailed, 4-1, after Tampa Bay scored four times in the fourth, keyed by three doubles off Berrios. Rays right-hander Chris Archer lasted just 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits. Max Kepler hit a solo homer in the second and Bobby Wilson scored in the fifth on an RBI single from Eduardo Escobar after reaching on an error.

Video: TB@MIN: Kepler opens the scoring with a solo homer

Minnesota took the lead with four runs in the sixth against lefty reliever Adam Kolarek, who gave up three straight hits to load the bases with one out. Joe Mauer brought home a run with an RBI groundout before Rosario smacked a first-pitch, two-run double into left-center. Rosario then scored on an RBI single from Escobar, although Brian Dozier was thrown out at home to end the inning.

The Rays put the game away with a five-run eighth off veteran reliever Belisle. Jake Bauers ripped a two-run double with the bases loaded and Sucre added another RBI on a groundout. C.J. Cron put the cherry on top with a two-run homer off Belisle, who has a 7.43 ERA this season.

"We tried to stay close the best we could," Molitor said. "We just couldn't get that last pitch to get off the field and give us a chance to keep it within striking distance."

Video: TB@MIN: Adrianza scores on Mauer's forceout

ASTUDILLO PITCHES NINTH
Astudillo was brought in to pitch the ninth inning with the Twins trailing by eight runs. He gave up five runs, including homers to Gomez and Bauers. Astudillo, who had pitched twice in the Minors, was the 19th position player to pitch in Twins history.

"It's just a situation we were in as a team," Astudillo said. "The manager asked that for me, and I'll do it."

Video: TB@MIN: Astudillo gets a popup to retire the side

SOUND SMART
The Twins made dubious history, allowing the Rays to became the first team in the live-ball era (since 1920) to score at least five runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. They were the first team since the 1991 Giants to score at least five runs in three consecutive innings.

Video: TB@MIN: Rays take the lead with 5 runs in the 7th

SLEGERS TO DL, ROMERO TO START
Right-hander Aaron Slegers was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, as he felt discomfort while throwing on flat ground before Saturday's game. Rookie right-hander Fernando Romero will be called up to start the series finale on Sunday. Slegers was a candidate to start, although the Twins were also considering a bullpen game. He said he felt something in his shoulder after his last start and it worsened on Saturday.

"Threw a flat ground and had to stop in the middle," Slegers said. "It's not like I was unable to pick up a baseball but just had to say something."

HE SAID IT
"Today's obviously over with. I'm just going to turn the page next week and go to D.C. and enjoy the All-Star break and visit with my family." -- Berrios, on putting the game behind him and getting ready for the All-Star Game on Tuesday at Nationals Park

UP NEXT
Romero (3-3, 4.38 ERA) will make his 11th start of the season in the first-half finale against the Rays on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. His last start with the Twins came on June 22, when he gave up four runs over six innings in a loss to the Rangers. Ryne Stanek will open a bullpen game for the Rays.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Jose Berrios