m3915 BC-BBA-Rays-Twins 1stLd-Writethru 04-17 0349
Hammel has another strong outing, Rays top Twins 7-3
Eds: Rays 7, Twins 3; UPDATES with details.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jason Hammel had his second straight strong outing, Nathan Haynes’ single keyed a four-run rally and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 Thursday night to split the two-game series.
In six innings, Hammel (1-1) allowed six hits and three runs while striking out five to help the Rays end a three-game losing streak. He allowed two earned runs in a career-best seven innings Saturday against Baltimore.
This time he got some help from an offense that had generated just two runs in his previous two starts. Rays hitters tallied more than that in one inning against the Twins.
Up 3-2, Tampa Bay batted around and scored four times in the fifth inning to chase Minnesota starter Boof Bonser, who hasn’t won in 12 home starts since June 10, 2007.
Bonser (1-3), who allowed six earned runs and seven hits in four innings, struggled all night before coming undone in the fifth.
He gave up an RBI single to Carl Crawford and walked B.J. Upton to load the bases, before being removed with nobody out. Haynes hit a two-run single off reliever Brian Bass and Upton scored on a ground out to give the Rays a 7-3 lead.
In 16 games, the Rays have scored at least seven runs five times, and at least five runs in 10 contests.
J.P. Howell earned his first career save with three innings of scoreless relief for the Rays, who lost first baseman Carlos Pena in the fourth inning because of right hamstring tightness. He is listed as day-to-day.
Upton had an RBI single in the first inning and Eric Hinske hit is second homer in as many days to give the Rays a 2-0 lead in the second.
Minnesota’s Matt Tolbert and Delmon Young sandwiched RBI singles around one by Evan Longoria to make it 3-2. Joe Mauer added an RBI single in the fifth for Minnesota.