Rays’ offense keeps rolling against Twins

by Gary Shelton on August 14, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had an inside-the-park homer./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Sometimes, digging the long ball isn't just about power. Sometimes, it's about speed.

On a day when Nelson Cruz, Mike Zunino and Yandy Diaz went deep, Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier went fast. He hit an inside the park home run to help the Rays to a 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

The Rays continue to hold a five-game lead in the American League East.

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The Rays' offense continued to swing the bat well. Since the Rays acquired Cruz on July 23, the Rays have scored 6.67 runs per game.

This time, the big difference is the way the Rays started the game. They took a 5-0 lead after four innings and held on. Shane McClanahan allowed eight hits in 5.1 innings, but he increased his record to 7-4.

The most impressive play, however, was Kiermaier's homer.

“I thought it was just going to be a triple," Kiermaier said. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I’ll take a homer anyway I can get it. I got caught watching between home and first. I could have made it much easier on myself. I wish I had busted out a little bit harder. I thought I was going to be stopped at third. I was safe by that much. It was close.

"Check the box score. My homer is just the same as Nelson's and Yandy's and Z's. Haters going to hate, players going to play."

For Cruz, who was 2-4, the game was a homecoming back to Minnesota. After he hit his 24th homer, Twins' fans might wish he had never left.

“It was special," Cruz said."The first at-bat. I got some tears there. It was emotional.

Zunino homered for the third straight game.

The Rays play the Twins again tonight at 7:10 p.m. The Rays have not announced a starter, but the Twins will start Kenta Maeda.


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