Here are three thoughts following the Twins victory over Tampa Bay
ROGERS GETS FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE WIN: Lefthander Taylor Rogers, who doesn't look overmatched up here, picked up his first major league win with two scoreless innings in relief of starter Phil Hughes. He's given up one hit and one walk over his last six appearances, totaling 8.1 innings. The Twins felt Rogers could be a good reliever, and he's showing that right now. ``His fastball plays and he's got the breaking ball to the lefties,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ``We saw him use it to get a couple strikeouts. He's throwing it over and hes mixing it up enough. So far so good There have been a couple small hiccups, but for the most part I think he's gaining confidence.'' Rogers was doused after the game and the club celebrated his first win. Beverages doused on him included tomato juice. ``A little different,'' he said/ ``A fun night, it was great. I'll never forget that.''
AND MAUER PASSES HRBEK: How many hits does Joe Mauer have left in him? You have to ask the question as he's starting to close on 2,000 for his career. On Thursday, he beat out a single in the eight for the 1,750th hit of his career. That moved him out of a time with Kent Hrbek and into fourth place on the Twins' all-time hit list. Kirby Puckett (2,304), Rod Carew (2,085) and Tony Oliva (1,917) are in front of him. If he stays healthy, Mauer should pass Oliva and be breathing down Carew's neck by the time his contract runs out. Will Mauer continue to keep playing after 2018 and add more hits to his career total? I think it would take another three years - after 2018 - for him to catch Puckett. Will the desire to keep playing still be there? He doesn't come across as a record chaser.
HUGHES' SEARCH TO FIND HIMSELF: Righthander Phil Hughes sent to the bullpen over the weekend, was handed a get out of jail for free card by manager Paul Molitor when Kyle Gibson was scratched with back problems. Freed from the bullpen, Hughes failed to take advantage of his big chance, as the Twins twice gave him leads he handed back to the Rays. Hughes has given up early runs all season. He entered Thursday having given up first- or second- inning runs in seven of his 10 starts. But he got through the first and second innings cleanly on Thursday. Then came the third inning, when Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
The Twins responded with two runs in the fourth, one on Max Kepler's first RBI, on a double to right-center, the other on Byron Buxton's sacrifice fly.
Hughes had another chance to get his second win of the season. But Brad Miller led off with a single and Longoria followed with a two-run homer to left as Tampa Bay took a 4-3 lead. That was all for Hughes, who gave up four runs over four innings on eight hits and a walk with two strikeouts. ``Stuff wasn't good,'' Hughes said. ``It was a nice team win, but I have to figure out what's going on.'' Molitor made a point of calling Thursday's outing a, ``spot start,'' and hasn't decided what to do the next time through the rotation. He said after the game that Hughes' spot could be skipped, with the off-day coming up on Monday. Stay tuned.