MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Byron Buxton has his mind and swing in powerful sync. The Minnesota Twins are following his lead — and scoring in bunches.
Buxton had his second straight two-homer game and the Twins sent another quality opposing starting pitcher to an early exit, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 9-4 on Friday night.
“You slow the game down and let it come back to you,” Buxton said, “and eventually the hits that you hit hard start to fall, and things like this start to happen.”
Buxton has gone deep five times in the last three days and moved into a tie for second in the major leagues with 17 homers in just 43 games. Carlos Correa tacked on a two-run shot in the eighth inning for the Twins, who have scored eight-plus runs in five of their last seven games.
Randy Arozarena and Vidal Bruján hit back-to-back homers for the Rays in the seventh. Isaac Paredes went deep in the second against Twins starter Devin Smeltzer (3-0), who allowed only one other hit over six-plus innings and retired 10 straight batters at one point.
Arozarena’s home run was an inside-the-park drive, the second of the season for the Rays following Kevin Kiermaier — who also accomplished the feat at Target Field last year. Bruján’s homer was the first of his career.
Drew Rasmussen (5-3) turned in his worst of 12 starts this year for Tampa Bay, coming off seven shutout innings of three-hit ball in his last turn. He was charged with seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, though three runs were unearned thanks to a fifth-inning fielding error on first baseman Harold Ramírez.
Rays starters had allowed two runs or fewer in 20 of the last 26 games. The Twins just got done roughing up New York standouts Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes and Gerrit Cole earlier this week, though they won only one of those three…