MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have beaten up on left-handed pitching and former Cy Young award winners in their rise to the American League’s best record and majors’ top offense.
A struggling Blake Snell was the latest victim.
Eddie Rosario had four hits, Willians Astudillo added three hits and Minnesota extended Snell’s troubles in a 9-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron hit solo homers for the Twins, who got to Snell (4-7) for seven runs and 11 hits in just 3 1/3 innings.
“I remember last year, I faced him twice, and he struck me out,” Astudillo said. “So after that, I said he won’t strike me out again. Here we were again today, and we won the game.”
Kyle Gibson (8-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings as the Twins won for the third time in four games.
Minnesota owns a major league-best .303 average against lefties this season with 40 home runs and their .889 OPS is baseball’s best mark against left-handers.
The Twins have also beaten five different Cy Young winners this season, including the two reigning winners in Snell and New York’s Jacob deGrom.
“We go out there to compete and our guys go out there and have good at-bats no matter who it is,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to win. It doesn’t mean you’re going to hit any home runs or square any balls up, but our guys are certainly confident in what they’re doing and not afraid at all.”
Snell was coming off a disastrous six-run outing at the New York Yankees in which he only retired one batter. He started this one with a clean first inning, but Astudillo got Minnesota started with an RBI single in the second.
The Twins scored three runs in each of the third and fourth innings to chase Snell, with Rosario tallying an RBI single in each.
“Blake’s stuff is totally equipped to go out there and have success against whatever offense it is,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “I know it’s not happening right now for him, but we’ve got to get him back to that point for sure.”
Snell has won once in his last nine starts. In five starts in June, he has a 12.11 ERA and has given up six or more runs three times.
“People would think I’m crazy if I told them I feel better right now than I did last year,” Snell said. “And I really do. Yeah, it’s frustrating. I’m going to continue to get better. I’m going to continue to focus on what I need to focus on and be the best me I can be. I can’t say it enough. I’m very confident in the way I feel.”
Willy Adames had two hits, including a solo homer for Tampa Bay, which has lost six of eight and is 10-14 since the start of June.
GLASNOW SHUT DOWN
Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow, on the 60-day disabled list with a right forearm strain, will be shut down as he experienced discomfort while throwing from 90 feet on Sunday. An MRI revealed right flexor inflammation and the team said he will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
“We’ll shut him down three or four weeks and then get him built back up,” Cash said. “We’ve got to start seeing Tyler when he does get back where he’s throwing, where he’s throwing and feeling good the next day.”
Glasnow is 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings this season and was named the AL pitcher of the month for April.
Rays: INF Daniel Robertson underwent arthroscopic surgery on Monday to remove a loose body in his right knee. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks. ... RHP Diego Castillo has been diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement and is expected to miss about two weeks. ... Cash said INF Yandy Díaz (right hamstring discomfort) could be activated from the injured list and back in the lineup on Thursday. ... LHP José Alvarado could rejoin the team during the upcoming homestand, according to Cash. Alvarado has been out since June 1 because of a family issue and he was moved to the restricted list.
Twins: OF Max Kepler left the game with a right elbow contusion after being hit in the arm by a pitch from Hunter Wood. Baldelli said Kepler had some swelling but was “OK.” Kepler had X-rays done on Tuesday that didn’t show any issues and is slated for an MRI on Wednesday. ... OF Byron Buxton hit before the game and Baldelli said he felt good, so the team will have Buxton hit for a second straight day Wednesday. ... INF Ehire Adrianza is nearing a return from abdominal issues, according to Baldelli. ... OF Marwin Gonzalez is progressing from a right hamstring strain and ran at 75% before the game. ... Baldelli downplayed any concern over the blister developed by RHP José Berríos in his last start.
Two of the AL’s top pitchers in ERA match up on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton (8-1) leads the league in ERA at 2.31 and Jake Odorizzi (10-3) starts for Minnesota against his former team. Odorizzi is third in the AL — behind Texas’ Mike Minor — with a 2.58 ERA. Odorizzi stumbled a bit in his past two starts, giving up eight runs in 10 innings in two games against Kansas City, but he threw six scoreless innings against Tampa Bay on June 2. Morton allowed two runs in seven innings in a win against the Twins on May 30.