Corey Kluber tossed six innings of one-hit baseball, and Josh Lowe hit his first Major League home run as the Tampa Bay Rays pushed their winning streak to three straight with a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Twins starter Dylan Bundy had allowed just one run in his first three starts, totalling 15 1/3 innings of work. That changed just two batters into the game thanks to back-to-back doubles by Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco, putting the Rays ahead 1-0. Yandy Diaz singled Franco to third, and Josh Lowe jumped on Bundy’s first pitch, crushing it off the garage doors in straightaway center for a 4-0 lead.
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Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said he gave the rookie DH some words of encouragement before he went out to hit the first time.
“I told him right before he walked to the plate, ‘Don’t make me look stupid,'” Cash said of hitting him fourth in the lineup.
“That was some good assurance there from Skip,” Lowe said with a laugh.
The Rays made it 5-0 in the second as Taylor Walls drew a leadoff walk from Bundy, stole second, moved to third on a groundout by Brandon Lowe, and scored on a base hit by Diaz.
Mike Zunino got in on the homer act in the third taking a Bundy pitch and depositing it int the seats in left-center for his first home run of 2022.
Kluber retired the first nine batters in a row before hitting Byron Buxton with a pitch. Buxton would take second on a groundout by Luis Arraez and score on the only hit the right-hander would allow, a single by Carlos Correa.
Correa would also have Minnesota’s second hit, a single in the seventh off Javy Guerra, and Nick Gordon would double off Phoenix Sanders in the ninth, though both would be stranded in scoring position.
Tampa Bay can make it four wins in a row Saturday evening, and earn a fourth consecutive series victory with a win in the middle game of the series. Shane McClanahan (1-1, 2.45 ERA) will get the start, taking on former Ray Chris Archer (0-0, 3.18 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.