TWINS (39-18) AT RAYS (35-21)
1:10 p.m. ET; FS-SUN, FSNO, MLB.TV
The Minnesota Twins picked up in June where they left off following a memorable and record-setting May.
The Twins, who went 21-8 in May while hitting a franchise record 56 home runs, will be going for their 12th series victory of the season on Sunday afternoon against Tampa Bay after winning their second straight game against the Rays on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ex-Ray Jake Odorizzi (7-2, 2.16 ERA) will start for the Twins, who bounced back from an ugly 14-3 loss to the Rays in Thursday night’s series opener to win 5-3 on Friday night and 6-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The right-handed Odorizzi has a no-decision with a 10.38 ERA in one career start against the Rays. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Ryan Yarbrough (4-1, 5.53), who has allowed four runs in 5 1/3 career innings against the Twins.
Odorizzi comes in a roll, winning seven of his last eight starts, including a 7-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on May 26 when he allowed one hit over 5 1/3 innings. It also was the fifth time in his last six starts that he didn’t allow a run.
Marwin Gonzalez and Byron Buxton each homered in Saturday’s victory to increase Minnesota’s major league-leading home run total to 108.
“Their offense is leading the American League, if not all of baseball, in a lot of categories,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
“There’s a reason why. They’re balanced. They’ve got plenty of power. … What they’re doing, hitting the ball out of the ballpark at the rate they are and not striking out shows that they have some real quality hitters.”
Kyle Gibson gave up only an unearned run over five innings while allowing six hits in Saturday’s win. Four Minnesota relievers combined to hold the Rays to just a Christian Arroyo solo homer and three hits over the final four innings.
Tampa Bay, which scored a season-high 14 runs and tied its season-high with 16 hits in the series opener, has managed just five runs and 13 hits in the two games since.
“Gibson’s tough,” Cash said. “They all pitched well. We just didn’t have much going our way today for whatever reason. Sometimes in losses you can’t pinpoint what it is, but it didn’t go our way, and it just seemed to drag out and drag out and ended up being a four-hour loss.”
Buxton has bounced back from an injury-plagued 2018 campaign in which he hit just .156 with no home runs and four RBIs in 28 games. He is batting .262 with six homers, 19 doubles and 31 RBIs in 54 games this season.
“It’s just us coming out here and playing our game and having a lot of fun,” Buxton said.
“We know we’ve got a great team and we’ve got great chemistry together, which allows us to come out here and do what we do. … We take it one pitch at a time, one game at a time, and we control what we can control, and that allows us to do what we do and take care of business.”
–Field Level Media