The Tampa Bay Rays have had their fair share of ups and downs in this 2017 season, but one thing has always been true. This team responds well to adversity. The Rays had an extremely disappointing series in Chicago over the weekend, but rebounded in a major way on Monday night. Corey Dickerson and Kevin Kiermaier were the catalysts as the bats exploded for a huge 11-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Things didn’t get off to the brightest of starts for the Rays on Monday. Kevin Kiermaier led off the Rays half of the 1st inning with a double, but was left stranded at 3rd base after Evan Longoria flew out and Logan Morrison struckout to end the inning. That baserunner came back to bite the Rays in the next half inning.Max Kepler’s RBI single gave the team from the Twin Cities a 1-0 lead.
The Rays wouldn’t let that mistake define the night, however. Corey Dickerson came right back and tied the game with a solo homerun in the bottom of the 2nd. Tampa Bay would then take the lead in the 3rd when Longoria redeemed himself for the 1st inning, by driving in Kiermaier from 2nd. The Rays’ starter, Alex Cobb, backed up his offense after that. Cobb struck out the final 2 batters in the 4th for the shutdown inning and then came back and got a 1-2-3 5th inning.
Cobb would exit the game with 2 outs in the 6th and the tying run on 3rd base. Dan Jennings would come in to replace him and got the job done. He got the inning ending groundout on just a single pitch and left Joe Mauer stranded at 3rd base.
The Twins’ starter would be chased in the bottom of the 6th. Jose Berrios wasn’t able to record a single out before Dickerson’s RBI double forced his exit with runners still on 2nd and 3rd. The scoring wouldn’t end there for the Rays. Steven Souza Jr. scored after a home plate collision on an Adeiny Hechavarria sacrifice fly. Kiermaier would then open it up with a 2 RBI single that scored Dickerson and Brad Miller. Tampa Bay was even able to extend their lead further in the 7th. Morrison’s team leading 36th home run made it a 7-1 game.
Brian Dozier tried to start a Minnesota comeback in the 8th inning. His 2-run homerun got the Twins to within 4 runs. The Rays got those 2 runs and more back in their half of the 8th. Trevor Plouffe, Longoria, and Morrison all had RBI base hits to really put the game out of reach. Tampa Bay ultimately ended up with an 11-4 victory in the opener of this 3 game set.
The Rays will continue this vital series on Tuesday night. Jake Odorizzi will take to the mound for Tampa Bay to face the ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon, for Minnesota. First pitch for Rays and Twins is scheduled for 7:10 with pregame coverage beginning right a 6 with Steve Carney and the Inside Pitch on WDAE.