Nelson Cruz singled and homered in his return to Minneapolis and the Tampa Bay Rays clubbed four homers while cruising to a 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Kevin Kiermaier hit an inside-the-park homer while Yandy Diaz and Mike Zunino also went deep for the Rays, who finished with 13 hits while winning for the seventh time in eight games.
Tampa Bay, which has hit 44 home runs over its past 22 games, improved to 33-9 this season in games in which it hit more than one homer.
Kiermaier finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and Brandon Lowe and Zunino also had two hits for the Rays. Shane McClanahan (7-4) picked up the win after allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out six.
Evan Phillips pitched three innings of one-run ball for his first career save.
Brent Rooker went 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs, Miguel Sano had two hits and two RBIs and Mitch Garver also had two hits for Minnesota. Michael Pineda (4-8), who left after 2 2/3 innings because of left side tightness, gave up four runs on six hits. He fanned three and walked none.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double high off the wall in center by Randy Arozarena, then made it 3-0 in the second on a solo homer by Diaz and a run-scoring wild pitch by Pineda.
Cruz, traded to Tampa Bay on July 22, received a standing ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat and then got another loud ovation in the third when he lined his 24th homer of the season into the left field bleachers to increase the Rays’ lead to 4-0.
Zunino made it 5-0 in the fourth with his 24th home run of the season, a 402-foot line drive into the bullpen in left-center.
The Twins cut it to 5-2 on RBI singles by Sano and Rooker in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.
The Rays made it 6-2 in the sixth when Kiermaier hit a drive off the right field wall that caromed back sharply toward the infield. Kiermaier circled the bases and just beat second baseman Jorge Polanco’s relay throw to the plate.
After the Twins closed within 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth on another Sano RBI single, the Rays broke the game open with a four-run seventh highlighted by a two-run single by Kiermaier.
Rooker ended the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh.
–Field Level Media