De Vries struggles as Twins drop opener to Rays

De Vries struggles as Twins drop opener to Rays

De Vries struggles as Twins drop opener to Rays
MINNEAPOLIS -- In the development of any rookie pitcher there's seemingly always something to take from every start.

But for right-hander Cole De Vries, Friday wasn't exactly a night to remember, as he turned in the worst outing of his young career as the Twins were blown out by the Rays in a 12-6 loss at Target Field.

De Vries, who had lasted at least five innings in each of his previous 10 career starts, surrendered eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits over just 1 1/3 innings.

"This is a flat-out forget one," said De Vries, who saw his ERA rise from 3.81 to 4.77. "I don't really see anything productive that I can take out of this one, outside of working on forgetting about things."

But if there's one thing De Vries learned from his outing, it's that sometimes throwing a first-pitch strike doesn't always lead to good things.

Of Tampa Bay's seven hits against the rookie, three came on the first pitch, while six of the seven came on the third pitch or earlier.

"It was an ambush job tonight," De Vries said. "They were attacking early and not allowing me to get to my gameplan. It kind of threw me off my game, but that happens sometimes."

The Rays jumped on De Vries early, scoring two runs in the first inning on a two-run blast by Matt Joyce -- after Desmond Jennings led off the game with a double on the first pitch -- before tallying six runs in the second.

The first five batters De Vries faced in the second reached base, including Ryan Roberts, who reached on a fielding error by third baseman Jamey Carroll that brought home the first run of the inning.

Jose Molina added an RBI single before Jennings drove in a run with a double to left. Joyce picked up two more RBIs with a double to center that made it 7-1 and knocked De Vries from the game. Reliever Jeff Manship came in and gave up an RBI single to Evan Longoria, but settled down from there.

"Until it stops working, keep doing it," said Jennings of the Rays' plan to swing early and often. "First pitch of the game, you pretty much know it's going to be a strike."

Manship lasted until the sixth, when he allowed a two-run single to Molina with one out. He was removed in favor of reliever Luis Perdomo, who couldn't stop the damage, as he gave up a two-run double to B.J. Upton. All four runs were charged to Manship, who threw four innings in relief.

The offense, meanwhile, was mostly held in check by Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who gave up three runs on seven hits over five innings.

"He pitched with a lead," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's exactly what he did. He used all his pitches like he usually does and moved it in and out."

Josh Willingham laced an RBI single in the first while Joe Mauer brought home a run with a single in the third and Ryan Doumit hit a solo shot in the fourth.

"[Hellickson] got the win tonight, but that was not one of his better outings," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He was really not sharp overall. And they're a very good hitting ballclub. They can put a big number on you in a hurry."

The Twins added three late runs, with two runs in the eighth on an RBI single from Alexi Casilla and a sacrifice fly from Brian Dozier. Ben Revere brought home the last run on an RBI groundout in the ninth after Denard Span led off the frame with a triple.

"Guys kept swinging and scored some runs here and there, but the bottom line is that if you get knocked around early it kind of takes the fight out of you for a little bit," Gardenhire said. "But I do like the fact that our ballclub kept swinging the bats and getting after it a little bit."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.