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Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce Power Rays Offense In 5-2 Victory Over Twins

The Tampa Bay Rays just keep on rolling, beating the Twins Friday night for their fourth straight win and improving their overall record to 5-8. Wade Davis pitched well for the Rays, going seven innings while striking out one and only allowing six baserunners (four hits, two walks). He didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he was able to still remain effective and hold the Twins to just one run.

The real stars of the game, though, were Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce. Both Joyce and Fuld had three hits on the night, including one double each, and Fuld’s double in the sixth inning broke the game open for the Rays. His hit put runners on second and third with Johnny Damon coming up next, and Damon then hit a single that drove in both runners and put the Rays ahead 2-1.

Nick Blackburn allowed 10 hits on the night in only six innings, and the Rays were able to capitalize on those hits and turn them into five runs. Blackburn flummoxed the Rays the first few times through the order, but late in the game the Rays were able to finally get their offense going.

Game Notes:

- Kelly Shoppach hit his first homerun of the season, tacking on two insurance runs for the Rays in the seventh inning.

- The save statistic is one of the most arbitrary statistics in sports, and we got a perfect example of this tonight. The Rays used four different pitchers in the ninth inning, but Kyle Farnsworth was eventually awarded a “save” for recording one out with a three run lead. I won’t complain, as it helps my fantasy team, but it’s just such a ridiculous statistic.

- With the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles losing Friday night, the Rays are now only 2.5 games behind first place in the AL East. The Red Sox are 5 games back, and that’s a glorious thing.

- The Rays and Twins play again tomorrow at 4:10 PM, with Jeff Niemann facing off against Scott Baker.

For more Rays coverage, visit DRaysBay, SB Nation’s Tampa Bay Rays blog.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.