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Rosario helps Twins extend Snell’s woes, beat Rays 9-4

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Twins have beaten up on left-handed pitching and former Cy Young award winners in their rise to the American League’s best record and majors’ top offense.

A struggling Blake Snell was the latest victim.

Eddie Rosario had four hits, Willians Astudillo added three hits and Minnesota extended Snell’s troubles in a 9-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron hit solo homers for the Twins, who got to Snell (4-7) for seven runs and 11 hits in just 3 1/3 innings.

“I remember last year, I faced him twice, and he struck me out,” Astudillo said. “So after that, I said he won’t strike me out again. Here we were again today, and we won the game.”

Kyle Gibson (8-4) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings as the Twins won for the third time in four games.

Minnesota owns a major league-best .303 average against lefties this season with 40 home runs and their .889 OPS is baseball’s best mark against left-handers.

The Twins have also beaten five different Cy Young winners this season, including the two reigning winners in Snell and New York’s Jacob deGrom.

“We go out there to compete and our guys go out there and have good at-bats no matter who it is,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to win. It doesn’t mean you’re going to hit any home runs or square any balls up, but our guys are certainly confident in what they’re doing and not afraid at all.”

Snell was coming off a disastrous six-run outing at the New York Yankees in which he only retired one batter. He started this one with a clean first inning, but Astudillo got Minnesota started with an RBI single in the second.

The Twins scored three runs in each of the third and fourth innings to chase Snell, with Rosario tallying an RBI single in each.

“Blake’s stuff is totally equipped to go out there and have success against whatever offense it is,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “I know it’s not happening right now for him, but we’ve got to get him back to that point for sure.”

Snell has won once in his last nine starts. In five starts in June, he has a 12.11 ERA and has given up six or more runs three times.

“People would think I’m crazy if I told them I feel better right now than I did last year,” Snell said. “And I really do. Yeah, it’s frustrating. I’m going to continue to get better. I’m going to continue to focus on what I need to focus on and be the best me I can be. I can’t say it enough. I’m very confident in the way I feel.”

Willy Adames had two hits, including a solo homer for Tampa Bay, which has lost six of eight and is 10-14 since the start of June.

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