WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published April 28, 2011, 04:11 PM

Rays Rout Twins 15-3

Ben Zobrist set a Tampa Bay record with eight RBIs, hitting a home run and two doubles Thursday as the Rays routed the Minnesota Twins 15-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

By: Associated Press,

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ben Zobrist set a Tampa Bay record with eight RBIs, hitting a home run and two doubles Thursday as the Rays routed the Minnesota Twins 15-3 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Zobrist went 4 for 6 and scored twice. He hit an RBI single in the first inning, a three-run homer in the sixth and added two-run doubles in the seventh and ninth.

Zobrist broke the team RBIs record of seven set by Carlos Pena in 2007.

Tampa Bay has won four in a row and 12 of 15.

B.J. Upton had three hits and scored three times for the Rays, who matched a season high with 19 hits. Johnny Damon extending his hitting streak to 15 games while getting three hits, including an RBI triple.

Jeremy Hellickson (2-2) pitched 6 1-3 innings for the victory. Nick Blackburn (1-4) was chased in the fourth.

Tampa Bay's hitters might be starting to catch up with their pitchers. The Rays started the day with the AL's third-best ERA, but was last in the majors with a .228 batting average.

The Rays have outscored the Twins 23-5 through the first two games of the series. Zobrist hit his sixth home run and Casey Kotchman hit his first.

Hellickson allowed just two hits before Michael Cuddyer homered with two outs in the fourth. The rookie right-hander then retired seven of the next eight batters.

Blackburn stumbled through 3 1-3 innings. He allowed seven runs, five of which were earned, and gave up eight hits and four walks.

The walks might be the biggest concern for the Twins. Perennially among the stingiest teams in handing out walks, they've had control trouble all season.

Damon walked in the first, stole second base and scored on Upton's single. Matt Joyce followed with another walk and Zobrist had an RBI single. Tampa Bay missed an opportunity for even more when Sean Rodriguez put down a squeeze bunt, but Joyce was tagged out at the plate.

NOTES: Beginning with the first game Thursday, the Rays will play four games over a 51-hour span. Friday's starter David Price was sent back to Tampa Bay ahead of the team to prepare for his start. ... Hellickson has made four of his 11 career starts against the Twins, going 2-1. He made his major league debut against the Twins last August with a seven-inning, six-strikeout victory. ... Minnesota's Rene Tosoni made his major league debut and singled to right field in his first at-bat. The outfielder finished with two hits and an RBI after being called up from Triple-A Rochester following Thursday's game with OF Delmon Young joining the disabled list. ... Joyce reached base five times with three hits and two walks ... Twins DH Jim Thome was still unavailable with a strained oblique.

Tags: