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Rays Avoid Sweep, Beat Twins 12-5 On Homeruns By Rodriguez, Shoppach, And Longoria

After putting up lackluster performances two days in a row, the Rays’ offense exploded last night in the eighth and ninth innings, leading the Rays to a 12-5 win over the Minnesota Twins. Evan Longoria was the offensive star of the game, going 3-6 with a homerun, and he drove in four of the Rays’ runs. After his performance the last few days and concerns about a foot injury, this was a very welcome showing.

On the mound, Wade Davis did not have his best stuff — but then again, neither did Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano. As CB Jones said in the game recap over at DRaysBay, SB Nation’s blog on the Rays:

Wade Davis delivered a rather ho-hum outing this afternoon. His line: 5IP, 4R, 3ER, 9H, 3BB, 1K. He generated just two swinging strikes of his 92 pitches and didn’t seem to have his best control. Despite this, he did manage to leave the game in line for a win, but Juan Cruz promptly saw to that as, after a clean sixth inning, Cruz left a cutter up to the Twins lone all-star Michael Cuddyer who blasted a solo homer to left center. Overall, the bullpen was pretty “meh” today, allowing five hits and three walks. On the bright side, they struck out seven. JP Howell picked up the win with the only clean inning on the squad. He struck out two.

With the win, the Rays moved to within four games of first place in the AL East. They’re still three and a half games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card lead, but the Rays are in striking distance as they face the Yankees in New York this weekend. If the Rays could manage to split the series — or better yet, win it outright — it’d be a very upbeat way to enter the All-Star Break.

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