MINNEAPOLIS -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered, while Brad Miller connected on a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Rays to a 4-2 win over the Twins on Friday night at Target Field.
"These guys have been grinding through it," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose team snapped a five-game losing streak. "We've had some ugly losses. We've had some losses where we've been really close. Some really frustrating losses. We've lost every type of way over the last couple of nights. ... It's good to get away with a W."
Miller's game-winning RBI single came with two outs in the eighth inning against right-hander Ricky Nolasco. The run was unearned, however, as it was keyed by an error by rookie right fielder Max Kepler, who bobbled a single from Hank Conger to allow Taylor Motter to reach third. Motter scored on Miller's hard-hit single to right. Nolasco was otherwise solid, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts, but was saddled with the hard-luck loss.
"It was a good outing for sure," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He got real deep into the game. When he gets on a roll, he can get some quick outs. Outside of the home run to Longoria in the first inning, he made a lot of quality pitches throughout the night. I thought it was his game against Miller there. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't."
Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi threw a career-high 120 pitches, surrendering two runs on five hits over six innings. Both runs came in the third, as Byron Buxton sparked a rally with a leadoff triple, scoring on an RBI groundout from Brian Dozier. Trevor Plouffe brought home the second run with a two-out RBI single.
The Twins loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Rays closer Alex Colome, but Colome got out of the jam by striking out Kepler on three pitches. Colome, who hadn't pitched since Saturday, picked up his second six-out save of the year. Colome got an insurance run on Morrison's solo shot in the ninth off Brandon Kintzler.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Buxton shows off elite speed: Buxton led off the third with a triple into the left-field gap, going from home to third in 10.69 seconds, the second-fastest time recorded by Statcast™ this year. Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton has the fastest time this year at 10.66 seconds, but his came as a left-handed hitter. Buxton also reached a top speed of 21.6 mph. He scored on an RBI groundout from Brian Dozier.
"I thought they were playing deeper than we actually were," Buxton said. "Once I got past first base and saw where they were, that was my key." More >
Career high pitches for Odorizzi: After Thursday night's loss, starter Matt Moore told reporters that he and the other starters don't question any decisions to take them out of the game, but he wanted it out there that he and the rest of the group had a lot left in the tank and felt up to the task to pitch deeper into the games. Odorizzi got that opportunity Friday night, throwing a career-high 120 pitches in six innings. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five to earn a no-decision, and perhaps set the tone for a longer leash for the starters. More >
Nolasco deals, but not enough: Nolasco turned in one of his best outings of the year, going a season-high 7 2/3 innings. The right-hander had his slider and curveball working, striking out seven with no walks. He was hurt Kepler's error in the eighth, as the final run was unearned. The RBI single from Miller came on Nolasco's 107th pitch of the night.
"It's a tough one to swallow with that groundball getting through but I thought I made the right pitch," Nolasco said. "I battled the whole time out there. I appreciated the opportunity. It didn't work out but I did all I could do."
Motter of fact: The Rays like Motter's energy and his ability to make things happen. Such was the case when he stepped to the plate with one out in the eighth. He'd struck out in his first two at-bats against Nolasco, but in his third at-bat he managed to place a soft single to right field to start a rally that eventually would see him score the go-ahead run. He alertly moved to third when Kepler bobbled Conger's single, then scored when Miller singled to right to put the Rays up 3-2.
"I knew he was going to come slider-curveball," Motter said. "I think he threw me one fastball all day, I took it for a ball. I really didn't even hit it that good, it was just perfect placement. I'm just glad I got bat on ball to help start that inning."
"Well, we need our uniforms for playing." -- Rays reliever Erasmo Ramirez when asked if the team needed to do something radical, like burning their uniforms, to break out of its slump.
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Morrison couldn't buy a hit during the first month of the season, now it's almost a surprise if he makes an out. The Rays slugger extended his hitting streak to seven games with a seventh-inning double then added a solo home run in the ninth to give the Rays an insurance run. Morrison hit .100 in April then hit .351 in May. After three games in June, he's hitting .363. In addition, he has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games, leading the Major Leagues with a .459 batting average in that span.
The Rays challenged a safe call at first base when they felt as though they had completed a 5-4-3 double-play to end the seventh. After a 1 minute, 30 second review, the call on the field was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Matt Andriese (3-0, 2.36) will start the third game of the series Saturday afternoon at 4:10 ET. He has made five starts and he's pitched six-plus innings in all but one. Opponents are hitting .198 against him and his opponents' OPS of .508 is the third lowest in the Major Leagues.
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (1-4, 4.13 ERA) is set to start for the Twins against the Rays on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Santana suffered a hard-luck loss last time out, as he gave up three runs over seven innings against the A's on Monday. He's looking for his first win since May 14.