MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After a winless April, Phil Hughes has been unbeatable in May.
Hughes pitched seven strong innings Friday night, and Danny Santana’s triple keyed a late two-run rally to lead the Twins to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hughes (3-4) gave up two runs and five hits to win his third straight start. After going 0-4 in five April starts, the Twins right-hander is now 3-0 in May, helping the Twins rally to a 20-16 record after a 1-6 start.
“Everybody has to step up and do their job. You can’t really afford to have guys that aren’t pitching well in the rotation,” Hughes said of his slow start. “I knew I had to be better. Hopefully this puts me in a spot where I can continue to improve.”
Hughes kept Rays hitters off-balance with curveballs early in the count and didn’t allow many hard-hit balls all night. In the process, he looked much more like the pitcher who went 16-10 and led the Twins in most pitching categories last year.
“We kind of anticipated that,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “His numbers coming in, we know he’s a better pitcher than that.”
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi (3-3) cruised into the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead, but his night was over quickly after that. Aaron Hicks led off with a single to left, and Santana followed by hooking a ball into the right-field corner for a triple that tied the score. Brian Dozier then put the Twins on top 3-2 with a sacrifice fly.
David DeJesus hit a home run with two outs in the second to put the Rays on top 1-0. But Dozier tied it with a homer leading off the third.
CABRERA’S ERRORLESS STREAK ENDS
Rays SS Asdrubal Cabrera committed his first error of the season in the sixth inning on Trevor Plouffe’s line-drive. It was his first error since Sept. 10, 2014, as a second baseman. His last error as a shortstop was June 22, 2014. He entered Friday as the only shortstop in the majors without an error. “You never know if those balls are knuckling or not. … He’s been outstanding, as solid as can be,” Cash said.
Twins closer Glen Perkins pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 12th save in 12 opportunities this season. The save was the 100th of his career. Meanwhile, Dozier had a home run and the game-winning RBI on his 28th birthday.
Rays: After Thursday’s game the Rays activated LHP Jake McGee from the 15-day DL. McGee had offseason surgery on his elbow. McGee saved 19 games last year. Rays manager Kevin Cash said he could use both McGee and RHP Brad Boxberger to close games.
Twins: Manager Paul Molitor said INF Eduardo Nunez (left oblique strain) will take live batting practice for the first time on Saturday. OF Oswaldo Arcia (strained right hip flexor) swung a bat in the cage for the first time on Friday but has not yet resumed baseball activities.
Rays: RHP Alex Colome (2-1, 5.63) won his first two starts of the year, but last time out he gave up eight runs and 11 hits, including four home runs, over six innings in a loss to the Yankees.
Twins: RHP Trevor May (2-3, 5.40) allowed a career-high six runs over four innings in an 8-2 loss at Cleveland on Sunday.
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