MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After the Twins botched several early opportunities to take control of the game, a rare Tampa Bay error helped Minnesota break through.
Brian Dozier homered, Eduardo Escobar had four hits and the Twins took advantage of reliever Kevin Jepsen’s poor throw in the seventh inning to beat the Rays 6-4 on Saturday.
“We came through in the end,” said Torii Hunter, who scored to put Minnesota ahead. “We got some insurance runs and we were able to close it out.”
The Twins put multiple runners on base in the third through sixth innings, but couldn’t build on their 3-1 lead.
After Tim Beckham hit a two-run homer to tie it at 3 in the top of the seventh, Hunter singled and Joe Mauer walked with one out in Minnesota’s half of the inning.
Trevor Plouffe tapped a bouncer back to Jepsen (1-3), whose wide throw to second pulled Beckham off the base.
“Comebacker, I thought I had more time,” said Jepsen, whose team had committed a majors-low 13 errors entering Saturday.
“By the time I turned around and looked, he was a lot closer than I expected. So, instead of just eating it and throwing to first, I tried to rush it and threw the ball up the line,” he said,
Kurt Suzuki followed with a sacrifice fly to give Minnesota the lead. Escobar added an RBI single, which right fielder Steven Souza Jr. misplayed for another error.
Dozier added his sixth home run in the eighth.
Twins manager Paul Molitor saw his team earn another late-inning victory to improve to 21-16 after a 1-6 start.
“You hope that they remember the feeling and the confidence that they’ve displayed in these games,” Molitor said.
Brian Duensing (1-0) threw just one pitch for the win. He took over for starter Trevor May and got Kevin Kiermaier to ground out to end the seventh, leaving the game 3-all.
Glen Perkins earned his 13th straight save to start the season despite giving up a home run to Logan Forsythe in the ninth.
May allowed three runs in a career-best 6 2-3 innings, but was disappointed that he allowed the homer to Beckham and couldn’t hold the lead. Nonetheless, he was happy his teammates came back.
“Picking me up in that situation and coming right back out after they tie it, you do that 10 times a year it completely changes your season,” he said.
After Alex Colome’s start on Saturday, the Rays have had a rookie pitcher start 16 games this season, most in the majors. Manager Kevin Cash says the challenge with so many rookie starters is the unknown.
“It fluctuates,” he said. “You’ll see a really good start out of a guy, then five days later it doesn’t look like the same pitcher.”
BELLATTI SENT DOWN
After pitching 2 2-3 innings of scoreless relief for the Rays, Andrew Bellatti was sent to Triple-A Durham and INF Nick Franklin (left oblique strain) was activated from the DL. Bellatti didn’t allow a run in two appearances since the Rays called him up a week ago.
Rays: Having thrown a bullpen session Friday, LHP Matt Moore(Tommy John surgery) remains on schedule to throw a simulated game Monday in extended spring training.
Twins: OF Jordan Schafer was put on the 15-day DL with a MCL sprain in his right knee. The move was retroactive to May 11. Fellow OF Shane Robinson was activated after missing four days on the family emergency list.
Rain is in the forecast for Sunday’s series finale. If the game is played, the Twins will start Kyle Gibson (3-2, 2.70), who has allowed just three runs in his last 28 innings. Chris Archer (3-4, 2.59), second in the AL with 58 strikeouts, starts for the Rays.
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