MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Tampa Bay Rays reliever Kevin Jepsen thought he had more time.
But after fielding a comebacker against the Minnesota Twins, he saw Joe Mauer closing in on second base and rushed his throw, and tossed it wide.
The rare error by the Rays proved costly Saturday in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
“If I just take the safe play and throw him out at first once I saw he was close, a flyball to right field and the inning is over,” Jepsen said. “By the time I turned around and saw, I tried to rush it and make up time.”
After Tim Beckham hit a two-run homer to tie it at 3 in the top of the seventh, Torii Hunter singled and Mauer walked with one out in Minnesota’s half of the inning.
Trevor Plouffe tapped a bouncer back to Jepsen (1-3), whose wide throw to second pulled Beckham off the base.
Kurt Suzuki followed with a sacrifice fly to give Minnesota the lead. Escobar added an RBI single, which right fielder Steven Souza Jr. misplayed for another error.
Entering Saturday, Tampa Bay was tied for the fewest errors in baseball with 13.
“Anytime you try to rush something you’re putting yourself in a bad position,” Jepsen said. “In that situation, with one out, you get the second out and you got a righty coming up. So at that point any out is better than trying to force something.”
Alex Colome lasted just 3 1-3 innings for the Rays, giving up three runs on six hits.
Colome, who had allowed eight runs in six innings in his last outing, said he was surprised to be pulled in the fourth inning.
“I don’t know why the fourth inning someone went up in the bullpen,” he said.
Brian Dozier homered and Eduardo Escobar had four hits for the Twins.
Brian Duensing (1-0) threw just one pitch for the win. He took over for starter Trevor May and got Kevin Kiermaier to ground out to end the seventh, leaving the game 3-all
Glen Perkins earned his 13th straight save to start the season despite giving up a home run to Logan Forsythe in the ninth.
Rays: After throwing a bullpen session Friday, LHP Matt Moore (Tommy John surgery) remains on schedule to throw a simulated game Monday in extended spring training.
Twins: OF Jordan Schafer was put on the 15-day DL with a MCL sprain in his right knee. The move was retroactive to May 11. Fellow OF Shane Robinson was activated after missing four days on the family emergency list.
Rain is in the forecast for Sunday’s series finale. If the game is played, the Twins will start Kyle Gibson (3-2, 2.70), who has allowed just three runs in his last 28 innings. Chris Archer (3-4, 2.59), second in the AL with 58 strikeouts, starts for the Rays.
BELLATTI SENT DOWN
After he pitched 2 2-3 innings of scoreless relief for the Rays, Andrew Bellatti was sent to Triple-A Durham and INF Nick Franklin (left oblique strain) was activated from the disabled list.
“Impressive. He came up here and did everything he could possible do to showcase himself really well,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I definitely envision that he’s put himself in that mix for when we need arms, and I think we all understand we’re going to need them throughout the course of the year. He definitely did that.”
The Rays have had a rookie pitcher start 16 games this season, most in the majors. Cash says the challenge with so many rookie starters is the unknown.
“It fluctuates,” he said. “You’ll see a really good start out of a guy, then five days later it doesn’t look like the same pitcher.”