Rays shut down Twins, hold wild-card lead

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 15, 2013 at 12:30 am •  Published: September 15, 2013
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon praised the Target Field grounds crew almost as much as he praised his own team after the Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-0 on a rainy Saturday night.

"Their groundskeepers, that was a great job getting that field ready," said Maddon, whose team waited around through a 2 hour, 4 minute rain delay in the fourth inning before finishing off Minnesota.

"I know we won, but I would've said the same thing had we not won that game. It really had an awkward everything about it. Everything kind of worked out, so that was a great job on their part."

Matt Moore and five relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Rays held their wild-card lead.

The Rays teamed to blank the Twins for the second straight day, and threw their 15th shutout of the season. Tampa Bay beat Minnesota for the 11th time in a row.

Desmond Jennings hit a pair of RBI doubles as the Rays stayed 1½ games ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.

Evan Longoria and Yunel Escobar each added two hits and an RBI.

After going through a stretch during which they lost 13 of 17, the Rays look more relaxed and have won three straight.

"Just finding ways to win. Hitting better with guys on base and in scoring position, we're finding a way to get them in," Jennings said. "Getting a few runs before the delay kind of relaxed us a bit."

After first pitch was delayed by 7 minutes, Tampa Bay took a 4-0 lead before the fourth-inning delay.

Moore threw 60 pitches and struck out five over three innings and didn't return after the delay. He has allowed only one earned run in 14 2-3 innings since coming off the disabled list earlier this month.

The short outing might end up being a good thing for the Rays down the stretch.

"Hopefully it will benefit me just this week," Moore said. "As far as my side work goes, hopefully I should be a little less sore those days."

Brandon Gomes (1-1) pitched the fourth inning and got the win.

The few fans remaining in Target Field cheered as the tarp was pulled off the infield, and the Rays went right back to work having their way with the Twins once the game resumed. Minnesota hasn't beat Tampa Bay since April 20 of last season.