Rosario's pinch-hit homer sparks Twins' win over Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Eddie Rosario's calculated guess paid off for the Minnesota Twins.
Rosario turned around a hanging changeup for a pinch-hit two-run homer that put the Twins ahead in the seventh inning, and they beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 on Friday night.
''I was just hoping for a hit to maybe get even,'' manager Paul Molitor said, ''and he gave me more than I could ask for.''
The Rays led 2-1 when the left-handed hitting Rosario batted for Byron Buxton with Eduardo Escobar on base against right-hander Erasmo Ramirez and one out.
''I'm looking for a breaking ball, changeup, but every pinch hitter goes up aggressive to home plate,'' said Rosario, who has two-run homers in both of his pinch-hit at-bats this season.
''When the pitching coach is talking to the pitcher, I think he's telling him not to throw me a fastball on the first pitch.''
Ramirez (7-9) left a changeup in the zone, and Rosario hit it out for his seventh homer and a 3-2 lead.
Miguel Sano homered and had three hits for the Twins, who have won seven of nine.
Sano got his 16th homer off Ramirez in the eighth. Joe Mauer drove in two more runs with a double in the ninth.
Brad Miller's solo homer off starter Ervin Santana gave the Rays a 2-1 lead in the sixth. It was the fifth homer in seven games for Miller and his 20th of the season.
The loss snapped the Rays' streak of giving up three runs or fewer in 10 straight games.
''We didn't capitalize on some opportunities,'' Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. ''We let the game get away, left too many pitches up in the zone that those guys can handle, and the ball left the ballpark.''
Santana (5-9) struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits.
Mauer's two hits raised his average to .402 in 31 career games at Tropicana Field.
Brian Dozier drove in the Twins' first run with a third-inning triple. Dozier stretched his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest active streak among AL players.
Rays starter Blake Snell gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven in 5 1/3 innings.
Lucius Fox, a shortstop prospect acquired from the San Francisco Giants in a trade for left-hander Matt Moore on Monday, has a bruised left foot, the Rays confirmed. The Tampa Bay Times reported the Rays were not informed of Fox's injury by the Giants, and Tampa Bay may seek additional compensation from San Francisco as a result. The Times said Fox's injury could cost him the rest of the minor league season.
NO MORE MOCKS
The Twins, who started the season 11-34, would move out of the AL basement with a sweep of the weekend series.
''We were being somewhat mocked about (being) on pace to set the all-time record for losses, and I understand why people enjoy doing those things when the season goes up in smoke early,'' Molitor said.
Miller had his first workout at first base with coach Tom Foley after moving from shortstop due to Tampa Bay's acquisition Monday of Matt Duffy from San Francisco. Teammates Chris Archer and Evan Longoria took flips covering first after grounders hit to Miller. The switch could come next week when Duffy is expected back from a left Achilles tendon strain.
Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe played an entire game at third base Friday night in his fourth rehab game at Triple-A Rochester. He could be activated as early as Monday.
Rays: OF Desmond Jennings was out of the lineup due to knee soreness. ... Cash said reports were very impressive on RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery), who allowed one earned run over three innings in his second start Thursday night for Class A Charlotte after shutting down his rehab assignment 2 1/2 weeks ago because of fatigue.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios will make his second start since being recalled from Rochester. He won Monday at Cleveland.
Rays: Chris Archer (5-15) leads the majors in losses and can regain the AL lead in strikeouts with four in Saturday night's game.