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Updated: August 10th, 2012 10:18pm
Starved for offense, Rays unleash for 12 runs against Twins, De Vries

Starved for offense, Rays unleash for 12 runs against Twins, De Vries

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The offense-starved Tampa Bay Rays had no problem roughing up Cole De Vries in a 12-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

The skinny

Friday was a rough night for De Vries, who was yanked after allowing eight runs (seven earned) in just 1 1/3 innings -- by far the worst outing of his young major league career. De Vries gave up seven hits and struck out one.

Matt Joyce opened the scoring for the Rays with a two-run blast in the first inning.

Josh Willingham's RBI single in the bottom half of the first inning off Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson brought the Twins to within one.

But De Vries was only able to record one out in the second inning, as the Rays batted around while scoring six. Jose Molina and Evan Longoria each contributed RBI singles, and Desmond Jennings and Joyce each drove home runs with RBI doubles.

"That was kind of a flat-out ambush job there tonight," De Vries said. "Yeah, they were jumping on me early, not really allowing me to get to my game plan. It kind of threw me off a little bit. But that happens sometimes. ...

"It just came on so quick and so hard that before I knew it I was already out of the game with eight runs on the board. There wasn't time to adjust. It just kind of spiraled out of control tonight."

De Vries had allowed only eight earned runs total over his last four starts.

"Cole just didn't really have very much," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was up, up, up, up and they whacked it. They jumped him early and often and it went from there...

"Bottom line is, you get knocked around like that early and it kind of takes the fight out of you for a little bit."

The Rays scored four more off Jeff Manship in the sixth on a two-RBI single by Molina and a two-RBI double by B.J. Upton.

Entering Friday, among American League teams, only the Seattle Mariners had scored fewer runs than the Rays, who have kept pace in the playoff race due mostly to superior pitching and defense.

Joe Mauer drove home a run with an RBI single in the third inning, and Ryan Doumit hit a solo home run in the fourth.

Hellickson lasted five innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out three.

The Twins added two runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Alexi Casilla and a sac fly by Brian Dozier and another in the ninth on an RBI groundout by Ben Revere.

Manship was charged with four earned runs on four hits and a walk in four innings.

Luis Perdomo pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out two.

Turning point

De Vries came into the game among the league leaders in percentage of pitches thrown in the strike zone, and that appeared to backfire on him against a Rays team that swung early in counts.

Six of the seven hits collected by Tampa Bay hitters came within the first three pitches of their at-bats.

"You can throw first pitch strikes, but you've got to mix it up. ... You've got to hit a spot," Gardenhire said. "He wasn't hitting any spots. I think you saw breaking balls over the plate.

"I told Willingham, 'Maybe you should just stand in front of the Twins emblem in front of the left field corner and we might catch some of those balls.' He just kept hanging them and they kept banging them. That's pretty much the whole night."

Numbers game

13: Home runs for Doumit

4.77: De Vries' ERA. He entered the game with a 3.81 mark.

3: GIDPs by Tampa's Ben Zobrist.

Health report

• RHP Matt Capps (shoulder) still has not resumed throwing. He is set to be re-evaluated Monday, but at this point it's unlikely the Twins will be able to move him before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline.

• RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) will continue his rehab stint for Single-A Fort Myers on Sunday.

• RHP Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) continues to play long toss.

• RHP P.J. Walters (shoulder) was on a 35-pitch limit for his start Thursday night, and he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one. He will likely be extended to 45 or 50 pitches in his next start.

On deck

Saturday: vs. Rays, 6:10 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (4-7, 7.42) vs. LHP David Price (14-4, 2.49)
Sunday: vs. Rays, 1:10 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (10-5, 2.91) vs. RHP James Shields (10-7, 4.08)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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