ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays starter Jake Odorizzi carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Lucas Duda provided the offense to lead Tampa Bay to a 2-1 win over the visiting Twins at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.
The win brings the Rays to within 2 1/2 games of the Angels, who sit a half-game ahead of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card. Minnesota has now lost four of its last five games.
Odorizzi retired the first 12 batters he faced thanks to a cut fastball that kept Twins hitters off balance for much of the night. The Twins' first baserunner came on an Eddie Rosario walk to lead off the fifth, but he was quickly eliminated with a 6-4-3 double play.
"Pitch-mix-wise, I thought tonight, maybe his best curveball that I've seen him have and his best fastball," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He threw some good cutters mixed in there, but the curveball I think was a weapon for him. Normally, it's kind of just a get-me-over pitch. He utilized that more than I had seen recently, and his fastball was ticked up."
The Twins wouldn't break through until one out in the seventh when Joe Mauer slapped a sharp grounder up the middle that ricocheted off of the second-base bag and out of reach of Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Odorizzi fanned the next hitter, Jorge Polanco, but was relieved afterward. He struck out seven.
Twins starter Bartolo Colon ended up as the hard-luck loser opposite Odorizzi. Colon allowed just two earned runs while scattering five hits in his 6 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
"We fought out there really hard until the end but we just couldn't do it," Colon said.
The 44-year-old veteran righty needed just 30 pitches to get through the first three frames before Duda broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run -- his 27th of the season -- in the fourth.
"I've played with Bartolo for a couple of years and I kind of know what he does, but he's a veteran and mixes it up," Duda said. "You don't really know what to expect. Just try to elevate a pitch and put a good swing on it."
Duda struck again in the bottom of the sixth, driving in Evan Longoria with a double off the right-field wall to make it 2-0.
"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "[Colon] had a really good night. … It was one guy. Duda stepped up and got a couple of big hits. That turned out to be the difference."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cishek the fireman: With two men on in the sixth, the Twins had their best shot at getting on the board but Rays reliever Steve Cishek was able to get Byron Buxton to fly out to center field for the third out. Cishek has not allowed a run in 17 appearances since joining the Rays.
Cardiac Colome: Twins designated hitter Robbie Grossman, in his first game since being reinstated from the disabled list, made things interesting by delivering a solo shot to right field to lead off the ninth inning against Rays closer Alex Colome and pull the Twins within a run. Colome walked Mauer and allowed a single to Polanco before getting Rosario to ground into a game-ending double play that found Hechavarria's glove.
"Honestly, I didn't even see the ball," Hechavarria said. "I saw it get hit up the middle and the umpire was there so I didn't see it, but I read the bounce last minute. It was incredible."
"Odorizzi was outstanding. That's probably the highlight of the night as far as seeing him do well. I know he's had a tough stretch here. For the life of me I can't figure out why our fans were booing him when he came off the field, but I thought he threw the ball really well." -- Cash, joking about the fans, who booed Cash's decision to pull Odorizzi before giving the right-hander an ovation
"That's the third time in the last five days that we've come up a little bit short. The effort is good, the results just haven't been over the last few days," -- Molitor
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Following his fourth-inning at-bat, Duda was in the midst of a 6-for-50 slump in which all six hits were home runs. He doubled his next time up to end the streak of homers.
Twins: Minnesota will promote 6-foot-10 Aaron Slegers and send him to the mound in search of his first career victory to conclude the series against Tampa Bay at 12:10 p.m. CT. Slegers (0-0, 2.84 ERA) was impressive in his Major League debut, allowing two runs on two hits over 6 1/3 innings, but did not factor in the decision.
Rays: Blake Snell (3-6, 4.02 ERA) will counter for the Rays as Tampa Bay tries for a sweep in the 1:10 p.m. ET series finale. The lefty is coming off his best month, with a 2.97 ERA in 30 1/3 innings in August.
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