Rays sweep Twins 4-2 to extend win streak to 6 games, now 46-19 on the season

Published 8:39 am Friday, June 9, 2023

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Minnesota starter Bailey Ober retired all nine batters he faced through three innings against the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday.

Then the umpires had him wash his hands after a foreign-substance inspection before taking the mound in the fourth. Before the inning was done, the 6-foot-9 right-hander had lost his perfect game and the lead as the Rays went on to beat the slumping Twins 4-2 for a three-game sweep.

Randy Arozarena walked with two outs in the fourth. Luke Raley had an RBI triple and Harold Ramírez hit a two-run homer off Ober to put the Rays up 3-1.

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The start of the inning was delayed when Ober left the field to wash his hands.

“I had too much sweat on my hands, and I use the rosin when I’m out on the field, so he thought it was too much and told me just go back in there and wash my hands,” Ober said.

“It got in my head a little bit that I didn’t feel safe out there, like, you never know if he checks me again and he’s a little ticked off that he can toss me. It was a little hard finishing out that game but even after that I got the first two guys out in that inning.”

Minnesota still leads the AL Central despite falling under .500 at 31-32, and has scored a combined seven runs in the past six games.

Ober (3-3) gave up four runs, three hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings.

“It’s a little frustrating,” he said. “I’m not using anything (illegal) out there. … It’s sweat and rosin, and I still get asked to wash my hand off. It’s the first time all year that’s happened. I haven’t changed anything.”

Umpire crew chief Jeff Nelson said it was an issue of some residue, and out of an abundance of caution he directed Ober to wash it off.

“We didn’t observe anything that was sticky and suspicious,” Nelson said. “It’s better to make it a non-issue by cleaning it up.”

Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said he “get didn’t an explanation” for what happened.

Rays manager Kevin Cash felt the delay was for another matter.

“I was of the assumption that he went to the bathroom and took a little while to get out,” Cash said.

Yonny Chirinos (3-1), recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game, allowed one run and five hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first big league appearance since April 29. Jason Adam, the third Rays reliever, worked the ninth to get his 10th save in 14 chances.