Rays Blast Three Homers But Can Only Manage Tie In Fort Myers

FORT MYERS (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays hit three home runs, including a solo blast from Jake Smolinski which broke a 4-4 tie, but couldn't hold on, as the Minnesota Twins rallied to force a 5-5 stalemate Friday at Hammond Stadium.

Ji-Man Choi's solo home run off Twins starter Jose Berrios got Tampa Bay off to an early lead, but Jake Faria ran into some bad luck int he bottom of the inning, with Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco each reaching on infield singles. Nelson Cruz's base hit scored Kepler to tie the game, and Eddie Rosario's sacrifice fly gave Minnesota a 2-1 advantage.

Willy Adames gave the Rays the lead back in the fourth, blasting a two-run homer off reliever D.J. Baxendale, and Avisail Garcia's RBI double an inning later scored Brandon Lowe for a 4-2 lead.

Minnesota re-tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Jonathan Schoop's fly ball to center was dropped by Emilio Bonifacio for a four-base error allowing both he and Rosario to score.

Jake Smolinski gave the Rays one final lead with a solo homer in the top of the seventh, but LaMonte Wade's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth tied the game, with neither team able to break the game back open.

Tampa Bay returns home for a matchup against the Baltimore Orioles Saturday, with Andrew Kittredge opening the game against Dylan Bundy. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 12:30 with Countdown to Opening Day.

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