TWINS (38-18) AT RAYS (35-20)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-SUN, MLBN, FSNO, MLB.TV
One can’t blame the Minnesota Twins for feeling a little sorry to see the calendar flip from May to June.
The Twins, who bounced back from a 14-3 drubbing on Thursday night to even their four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays with a 5-3 victory on Friday night, finished May with a 21-8 record, the most wins in a month for the club since June 1991.
Minnesota also set a franchise record with 56 home runs in the month and set a club record for runs in a month with 191.
Now the Twins will reset and try to win their second in a row over the Rays on Saturday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (5-2, 4.08 ERA), who has won three of his past four outings, will start for Minnesota. He will be opposed by right-hander Yonny Chirinos (6-1, 2.91).
Gibson is just 2-5 with a 5.80 ERA in eight career starts against Tampa Bay, including 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA in four starts at Tropicana Field.
Chirinos, who pitched five no-hit innings with seven strikeouts and two walks in his last start, an 8-3 victory over Toronto on Monday, will be making just his second career start against Minnesota. He is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Twins.
The good news for Chirinos is he doesn’t catch Minnesota coming in off a loss. The Twins improved to 15-3 in that role this season with their victory on Friday night.
Eddie Rosario’s two-out, bases-loaded single down the left field line broke a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning and won it for Minnesota.
“I thought it was a very good baseball game,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Two good teams out there, and we had guys that really stepped up and made some big plays and made some things happen. …
“Rosie waits for those situations. I think he goes to bed at night thinking about them and wanting them. He’s a guy we would definitely look to in those spots and a guy who certainly wants to be up there.”
Rosario said of his game-winning hit, “Same mentality that I always have. I live for those moments. I embrace them.”
The Twins had loaded the bases without a hit in the ninth as Rays reliever Diego Castillo hit both Jonathan Schoop and Willians Astudillo and intentionally walked Jorge Polanco, who doubled twice and scored three times. Rosario then bounced a hard grounder off lefty sidewinder Adam Kolarek the opposite way between the bag and third baseman Christian Arroyo to drive in Schoop and Polanco.
“Good teams find ways to capitalize, and they did,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s a really good team over there. … Two hit by pitches in the ninth in a tie ballgame, good teams are going to make you pay, and they did.”
Tampa Bay, which scored a season-high 14 runs and tied a season high with 16 hits in the opener on Thursday night, was held to just four hits Friday by the combo of Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers. Berrios gave up three runs on three hits over 6 2/3 innings while striking out eight while Rogers blanked the Rays on one hit over the final 2 1/3 innings to pick up his second win of the season.
Minnesota has now scored three or more runs in 24 consecutive games going back to May 6, tying the team’s single-season franchise record set from June 7-July 3, 2006.
–Field Level Media