ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire got everything he wanted from Kyle Lohse.
Lohse allowed one run and five hits over five innings in his first start since hurting his shoulder as the Twins beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-1 on Saturday night.Gardenhire was looking for five innings from Lohse, who left his previous start in the fourth on April 28 in Kansas City with a right shoulder strain. He got that as the Twins won for the eighth time in 11 games."The first time out, that's a good performance," Gardenhire said. "He did what he had to do, and now we can move on from there. Everything went good."Lohse struck out four and walked two in his 78-pitch outing."It felt fine," Lohse said. "I felt a little fatigued in the fourth and fifth. It was good to get through the fifth. Next outing, we'll try to throw for a little longer."Lew Ford's two-run double capped a four-run fifth inning and Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer for Minnesota.Ford's hit came with two outs and the bases loaded. The Twins had been hitless in 14 previous at-bats this season in that situation.Morneau, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth, homered in Minnesota's four-run ninth. He has six homers and 16 RBI in his last 12 games.Scott Baker replaced Lohse in the sixth and pitched one inning in his major-league debut. J.C. Romero and Jesse Crain combined for two scoreless innings before Joe Nathan pitched the ninth.Scott Kazmir (0-4) gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings. The Twins were hitless through four innings before scoring four times on six hits against the 21-year-old left-hander in the fifth."I don't know ... they just hit good pitches, I guess," Kazmir said.Kazmir is winless despite having a 3.95 ERA in his seven starts."Kazmir can throw that baseball," Gardenhire said. "He was mowing us down pretty good early in the game. Even going against him, it's fun to watch good-looking young players like that. He's got a lot of ability."Torii Hunter doubled for the Twins' first hit and remained at second on Jacque Jones' infield single. One out later, Mike Redmond
and Jason Bartlett had consecutive RBI singles for a 2-1 lead.Kazmir fielded Shannon Stewart's slow grounder near the first base line and threw Redmond out at the plate for the second out, but Luis Rivas' infield single loaded the bases and Ford followed with his double.Kazmir walked two of three to start the game before retiring 10 straight. He finished with five strikeouts and three walks.Lohse worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the fifth by retiring Josh Phelps on a foul popup. The Devil Rays are 1-for-16 -- including 0-for-7 with two outs -- with the bases loaded this year."The difference in this ballgame -- forget the score -- Minnesota, they got men on base and brought them in," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "We got men on base and didn't. I don't know what to do, I really don't. I wish I had the answers for you, but I don't."Lohse retired six straight before Nick Green singled to start the third and went to third on Toby Hall's double. Green later scored on Julio Lugo's sacrifice fly."His fastball was jumping, he was getting ahead of hitters," Gardenhire said. "The good thing was the health thing. He got through that part."
A prank was pulled on Devil Rays first baseman Aubrey Huff during pregame stretching. A video made to look like a preview for a Star Wars-type movie was shown on the scoreboard showing Huff dancing in the clubhouse. ... Hunter took a hit away from Alex Sanchez with a diving catch in center during the fifth. ... Sanchez went 0-for-4 and had his 10-game hitting streak snapped. He also failed to score for the first time in his last 11 games. ... Morneau has homered in consecutive games.