Twins
Rays
2 - 6 Final
  for this game

Jennings, Niemann power Rays over Twins

Apr 23, 2012 - 12:57 AM St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Desmond Jennings hit a two-run homer, Jeff Niemann didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and the Rays defeated the Twins, 6-2, on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.

Jennings finished with three runs batted in and B.J. Upton added a pair of RBI for Tampa Bay, which has won five of its last seven games, including the last two of this series.

Niemann (1-2) lasted 5 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs on three hits and two walks in the win.

"Everything felt pretty good," said Neimann. "I was throwing a lot of strikes with the fastball and I threw enough off-speed to keep them off balance."

Francisco Liriano (0-3) gave up five runs on three hits and four walks to suffer the loss and Ryan Doumit had a pinch-hit, two-run single in the sixth inning for Minnesota, which fell to 5-11 on the season.

"As soon as a couple of things happened out there he started misfiring and quit attacking the zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. "I think he gets away from wanting to throw his fastball."

Though they didn't get a hit until the fourth inning, the Rays managed to push a pair of runs across in the third. Liriano walked Sean Rodriguez and Chris Gimenez to begin the inning before hitting Elliot Johnson to load the bases. Jennings and Ben Zobrist followed with back-to-back sac flys for a 2-0 lead.

Evan Longoria provided the first hit of the game in the fourth when he lifted a high fly ball off of the B ring in left field. The high support beam is considered part of the playing field and Longoria walked into second with a double. He moved to third on a fly out and scored on Upton's sac fly, making it 3-0.

Clete Thomas broke up Niemann's no-hitter with two down in the fifth, but Alexi Casilla struck out to end the inning and Jennings belted a two-run homer to left in the bottom half for a 5-0 lead.

Niemann was pulled in the sixth after allowing consecutive singles to Denard Span and Jamey Carroll, then hitting Josh Willingham with one out to load the bases. Jake McGee struck out Justin Morneau before Wade Davis allowed a single to Doumit, which scored Span and Carroll, with the latter sliding in under the tag to make it 5-2. Danny Valencia grounded out to end the inning.

Upton's sac fly in the eighth capped the scoring and Fernando Rodney tossed a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts to seal the Tampa Bay win.

Game Notes

The Rays are in the midst of a stretch of 26 games in 27 days. Their lone day off in that span comes on Monday...Willingham went 0-for-2. He had hit safely in the Twins' first 15 games of the season, which tied a club record (Kirby Puckett, 1994).








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  • B.J. Upton sacrifice fly out to right scored Carlos Pena. Runner on first with two outs and Sean Rodriguez due up.

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  • Pinch-Hitter Ryan Doumit singled to center scored Denard Span and Jamey Carroll. On the play, Josh Willingham advances to second. Runners on first and second with two outs and Danny Valencia due up.

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  • Desmond Jennings one-out, two-run Home Run (2) to left scored Elliot Johnson. Ben Zobrist due up.

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  • B.J. Upton sacrifice fly out to left scored Evan Longoria. None on with two outs and Sean Rodriguez due up.

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  • Ben Zobrist sacrifice fly out to left scored Chris Gimenez. Runner on second with two outs and Carlos Pena due up.

    Twins 0, Rays 2  Bot 3, 2 OutsApr 22 2:32 PM


  • Desmond Jennings sacrifice fly out to center scored Sean Rodriguez. On the play, Chris Gimenez advances to third. Runners on first and third with one out and Ben Zobrist due up.

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    Twins vs. RaysDec 20 6:03 AM