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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (620 WDAE) -- After a night where the bullpen had to get 26 outs, the Tampa Bay Rays were hoping to get at least five innings out of Erik Bedard. It didn't happen.
Bedard could only struggle through four innings, and the taxed bullpen could keep Sunday's game close, as Tampa Bay dropped a 9-7 decision to the Minnesota Twins Sunday.
The left-hander could not find the strike zone early, walking three of the first five hitters before Kurt Suzuki opened the scoring with an two-run single. Sam Fuld followed with an RBI double to extend the deficit to 3-0.
After batting around in the first inning, Bedard allowed both Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer to reach for the second straight inning, and Trevor Plouffe delivered a run-scoring single.
After needing 67 pitches to get through the first two frames, Bedard finally settled down, but could only get through two more innings before leaving at the 90-pitch limit.
The Rays got back into the game in the second inning, as back-to-back doubles by Evan Longoria and James Loney made it 4-1. Two batters later, David DeJesus hit his first home run of the year, a two-run blast that cut the deficit to 4-3.
That would be as close as Tampa Bay would get, as Heath Bell, taking over for Bedard, gave up an RBI double to Fuld and a three-run homer to Aaron Hicks in the fifth, stretching the Minnesota lead to five runs, and a run-scoring infield hit by Suzuki an inning later.
Loney delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth that cut made it 9-4, and a pair of sacrifice flies by Desmond Jennings and James Loney got the game back to 9-6.
Logan Forsythe's pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth got the Rays to 9-7, but Desmond Jennings left the bases loaded, popping out to end the inning.
Tampa Bay embarks on a ten-game, three-city road trip starting Friday night with the first of four games against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Chris Archer (2-1, 3.65 ERA) gets the start in the opener against Erik Johnson (1-1, 5.32 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10, with coverage on WDAE starting at 7:00 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.