Twins
Rays
9 - 1 Final
  for this game

Ponson has best start, Twins continue to dominate Devil Rays

May 2, 2007 - 4:26 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Sidney Ponson has struggled this season, but he made sure the Minnesota Twins continued to dominate the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Ponson pitched seven strong innings and the Twins played small ball to post a 9-1 victory over the the Devil Rays on Tuesday.

Ponson (2-3) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and two walks, helping Minnesota defeat Tampa Bay for the 17th time in the last 20 meetings, and sixth in seven tries at Tropicana Field.

The 250-pound righthander had allowed 16 runs in his last three starts but was handed a big lead early. After giving up a second inning-homer to Delmon Young, Ponson threw five shutout innings and retired the last nine batters he faced.

"Well I never start the game very good," said Ponson, who beat the Devil Rays on April 14 for his first win of the season. "I get stronger as the innings go by. ... I'm just really happy that these guys gave me six runs early and make my life easy out there."

Matt Guerrier worked the seventh and Juan Rincon pitched two scoreless innings to close out the game.

Sparked by the return of its leadoff hitter, Minnesota, which is third to last in the league in home runs, played small ball to score six runs in the first two innings. It managed to score four runs in the second without an RBI hit.

"It was a good ballgame for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We scored runs early. We executed and we kind of put some things in motion and they threw the ball away. We had some good at bats early and Sidney threw the ball really good."

Tampa Bay leads the American league in home runs, but has been outscored, 26-4, in the first inning.

"Bad beginning, we made too many mistakes," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We had physical mistakes in the field, we had mental mistakes in the field. We did several things wrong.

"We've got to stop doing that. It's our fault. We're imploding early. It's schizophrenic." Luis Castillo made his return after a two-week absence caused by a strained quadriceps and went 3-for-6 with two runs.

Castillo led off the game with an infield single and came around to score on a groundout by Joe Mauer. Michael Cuddyer later hit a sacrifice fly to center to stake Ponson to an early 2-0 lead.

Minnesota extended the lead to 6-0 in the second despite not getting a hit. Torii Hunter walked and stole second to start the frame. Jason Kubel then reached on a walk.

Jason Tyner then dropped down a sacrifice bunt and chaos erupted. Tampa Bay pitcher Edwin Jackson fielded it and wanted to go to third, but no one was covering, so he wheeled and looked to first.

Hunter took a wide turn at third causing Jackson to fire a wild throw that sailed over the head of Ty Wigginton and down the left field line, scoring Hunter and Kubel for a 4-0 lead. Jason Bartlett scored Tyner on a ground out. After Castillo reached on an infield single, Nick Punto hit into a fielder's choice, and Mauer singled. Cuddyer then drove in Castillo with a fielder's choice to cap the scoring.

"You beat the ball around and you get some breaks here and there," Gardenhire said. "You execute a little bit fundamentally and these things can happen. You force people to make plays by putting the ball in play."

Tyner went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Mauer, who leads the American League in hitting .378 (36-for-93), had three hits and an RBI. Hunter hit his major league-leading 14th double in the seventh and extended his hitting streak to 16-games for the Twins, who have won four of five after pounding out a season-high tying 17 hits.

Cuddyer left the game in the sixth with a bruised back. He stumbled running the bases after rounding second. He is day-to-day.

Jackson (0-4), who was hammered for five runs - four earned - in three innings in his last start vs. Minnesota, did not make it out of the second. He allowed six runs - five earned - in 1 1/3 innings, the shortest outing of his career.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MINNESOTA 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 9 17 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: MIN - SIDNEY PONSON, MATT GUERRIER (8TH), JUAN RINCON (9TH) AND JOE
    MAUER
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, RUDDY LUGO (2ND), JAE KUK RYU
    (4TH), JUAN SALAS (7TH), SHAWN CAMP (8

    May 1 10:09 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSH RABE SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J RABE ON FIRST, J MAUER ON SECOND, L
    CASTILLO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 9
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.277, 2-FOR-5, RBI)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 9:52 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JUSTIN MORNEAU SCORED JOSH RABE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J MORNEAU ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 8
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: T HUNTER (.326, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 9:28 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON TYNER SCORED TORII HUNTER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J TYNER ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 7
    TAMPA BAY 1 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.233, 0-FOR-2, BB, RBI)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 9:11 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DELMON YOUNG (4) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF SIDNEY PONSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 6, TAMPA BAY 1
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B UPTON (.365, 5 HR, 20 RBI)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 7:56 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY MICHAEL CUDDYER SCORED LUIS CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, M CUDDYER ON FIRST, N PUNTO ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 6
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MORNEAU (.268, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 7:53 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY JASON BARTLETT SCORED JASON TYNER.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 5
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.286, 1-FOR-1)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 7:41 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY EDWIN JACKSON ALLOWED TORII HUNTER AND JASON KUBEL
    TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J TYNER ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 4
    TAMPA BAY 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.239, 0 HR, 4 RBI)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 7:41 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MINNESOTA 2 2 2 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: MIN - SIDNEY PONSON
    TAM - EDWIN JACKSON

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.287, 4 HR, 10 RBI)
    E DUKES (.238, 3 HR, 4 RBI)
    C CRAWFORD (.270, 4 HR, 16

    Twins vs. RaysMay 1 7:22 PM