Carlos Gomez’s walkoff homer sends Rays to sweep of Twins
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. Carlos Gomez blasted a two-run homer off Addison Reed in the ninth inning, handing the Twins a 8-6 walk-off loss that also completed a sweep of the three game series.
The Twins had fought back from a 6-3 hole to tie the game in the eighth on Brian Doziers two-run single. The Twins failed to score in the ninth, and Reed, who got out of the eighth by getting a double play grounder to stop a scoring threat went back out for the ninth.
C.J. Cron greeted him with a sharp single to left, then was replaced by pinch runner Rob Refsnyder. Gomez walked to the plate and hit Reeds first pitch into the seats.
It ended a day in which Phil Hughes struggled in his first start since last May.
His control was off, or his pitches were sharp or he was really nervous about being back on a major league mound. But Hughes, who had surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, struggled early. The Twins had a reliever warming up during a 35-pitch first inning during which Hughes put his team in a 2-0 hole only 10 pitches in.
He walked leadoff batter Denard Span then then a fastball down and in to Cron. And, as Kyle Gibson found out on Saturday, that is Crons happy place. The slugger took an easy swing and drove the ball over the left centerfield wall for his third two-run home run in two days.
Hughes walked Brand Miller and gave up a single to David Robertson. There was one out. Twins manager Paul Molitor showed little patience and had Trevor Hildenberger warming up. Hughes recovered by striking out Joey Wendle on three pitches, but Jesus Sucre singled to right, and it looked like Molitor was about to make a first-inning pitching change.
But Rays first baseman Brad Miller rounded third and pulled up lame about 15 feet from the bag. He couldnt return to the bag before Eduardo Escobar received a throw and tagged him out. Instead of the bases being loaded, Hughes was out of the inning.
The Twins were able to recover from that, getting a solo home run from Eduardo Escobar in the second then an RBI single by Eddie Rosario in the third that tied the game. And Hughes actually settled down some, retiring six straight Rays to get to the fourth inning.
Hughes lasted three batters, two singles and a fielders choice later, Molitor decided to activate his bullpen. Max Kepler hit a RBI double to give the Twins a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
Tampa Bay responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning, including a three-run home run by Adeiny Hechavarria on a 0-2 curveball from Alan Busenitz that got too much of the plate. That plane ride to New York was looking to be long and quiet.
But Miguel Sano delivered a pinch hit single in the seventh to make to 6-4. The bottom of the order stepped up in the eighth against lefthander Jose Alvarado. Escobar reached on a fielders choice and Ehrie Adrianza singled to right to put two runners on.
Mitch Garver pinch hit for Jason Castro, but Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Sergio Romo. Five sliders later, Garver walked to load the bases.
Cash had closer Alex Colome warming up, but elected to have Romo face Dozier with the bases loaded. And Dozier lined a 2-1 pitch to left for a two-run, game-tying single.