Jeffrey Springs threw two-hit ball into the sixth inning, Randy Arozarena stole two bases after twice getting hit by pitches and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 6-0 Sunday.
Springs (3-2) continued his impressive transition to the starting rotation. He struck out five and walked two in 5 1/3 innings against a Twins team that had scored a combined 15 runs in winning the first two games of the series.
“Jeffrey Springs set the tone, so that was really encouraging,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Really appreciated his entire body of work today to limit a very good offense. Offensively, we did some good things, put some pressure on a younger pitcher, so encouraged by that.”
Arozarena was hit by a pair of pitches twice and visibly upset with Minnesota starter Cole Sands. Arozarena then stole two bases and added an RBI double.
Arozarena said the stolen bases were revenge for getting hit.
“I think it gave me a little bit of energy,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “When you get hit by a pitch, you lose your at-bat. So, at least I can steal a base and today I was able to steal two bases and still be able to base run correctly. Even though it hurt, you still got to be able to play the game and be part of it and be aggressive, even though you got hit by a pitch.”
Kevin Kiermaier hit a solo home run and posted multiple hits for the third straight game for Tampa Bay, which heads to New York for a key series with the Yankees.
Sands (0-3) struggled again, giving up five runs in 4 2/3 innings. He’s surrendered 13 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings in his first three career starts.
“I think I’m taking steps forward,” Sands said. “I’ve just got to do a better job of controlling the running game, and then just the free passes — those were the two things, I think, that came back to hurt me today.”
The Twins had opened a six-game homestand by sending the New York Yankees’ Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Gerrit Cole each to season highs in runs allowed and then did the same Friday against Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen.
Minnesota followed with five runs in 2 1/3 against Shane Baz, Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect, on Saturday in his 2022 debut. The Twins scored 57 runs in their previous eight games.
“We faced a guy throwing the ball really well,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But our offense has done a good job all week long against some really good arms, and we faced another one today. We just couldn’t start it up and keep it going.”
Springs, making his eighth start this season, kept the Twins off-balance throughout. No runner even reached second base, but a walk to Carlos Correa with one out in the sixth ended Springs’ day with a career-high 94 pitches.
“One through nine, they’re good,” Springs said. “Just to keep kind of them at bay today, I’m definitely pleased with that.”
The left-hander is now 2-2 as a starter this season and has given up eight runs in 39 1/3 innings for a 1.85 ERA. Springs has made 108 relief appearances in his five-year career.
MAN OF HIS WORD
Tampa Bay outfielder Brett Phillips walked into the Rays clubhouse Sunday clean-shaven. He shaved after getting a hit Saturday to snap a stretch of 31 hitless at-bats.
Phillips told a reporter that he was a “man of my word,” and he hasn’t been clean-shaven since August 2019 when he was a minor leaguer with the Kansas City Royals.
Veteran reliever Tyler Thornburg threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his Minnesota debut after having his contract selected on Sunday from Triple-A St. Paul. Thornburg, 33, had pitched in two games for St. Paul after pitching in nine games for the Atlanta Braves earlier this season with a 3.86 ERA.
Chi Chi González was designated for release or assignment. He started Saturday’s game and allowed three runs in four innings.
Rays: SS Wander Franco (right quadriceps strain) will begin agility drills on Monday. Franco has been out since May 30. … 2B Brandon Lowe (stress reaction in low back) advanced to hitting flips from a coach. … RHP Luis Patiño (left oblique strain) threw two innings and 29 pitches for Tampa Bay’s team in the Florida Complex League on Saturday. His rehab assignment will now move to Triple-A Durham.
Twins: Nick Gordon came on as a defensive replacement in the eighth after leaving Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Rays: The nine-game road trip continues Tuesday with RHP Corey Kluber (3-2. 3.88 ERA) scheduled to pitch against New York. Kluber allowed one run in six innings against the Yankees on May 28. New York is scheduled to start RHP Gerrit Cole (5-1, 3.63).
Twins: RHP Chris Archer (1-2, 3.65) will start the first of three games in Seattle on Monday. The Mariners have RHP Chris Flexen (2-7, 4.35) lined up to start. Archer earned his first Twins win in his last start with five innings and one run allowed against the Yankees.
Springs, Rays finally slow Twins hitters in 6-0 win