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MIN@BOS: De Vries hurls seven strong vs. Red Sox

Twins right-hander Cole De Vries hasn't exactly had an easy transition into becoming a Major League starter.

De Vries, who made his big league debut earlier this season, will take the mound Friday night at Target Field as he leads the Twins into a three-game set against yet another playoff contender in the Tampa Bay Rays. Facing a contender won't be anything new for the righty, as his past seven starts have come against the Tigers, Rangers, Athletics, Orioles, White Sox (twice) and Red Sox.

Though De Vries was winless in those seven games, he actually notched four quality starts and gave the Twins a chance almost every time out. Not including his one subpar outing against the Athletics, De Vries posted a solid 2.72 ERA in the other six starts, all of which resulted in no-decisions.

In his most recent effort, De Vries limited the Red Sox to two runs off four hits over seven innings, but it took a ninth-inning rally after De Vries had turned it over to the bullpen for the Twins to emerge victorious.

"He pitched like a veteran out there," manager Ron Gardenhire said after the 6-4 triumph. "He used his curveball. He used his fastball. His changeup was good, especially early, when he got some people off his fastball with it. He just did a fantastic job."

The Rays will hope to extend De Vries' winless streak at least one more game, however, as they continue their playoff push.

While the Twins had an off-day Thursday, Tampa Bay wrapped up its homestand by beating the Blue Jays, 7-1, to finish a three-game sweep. The Rays will call upon right-hander Jeremy Hellickson as they open their final three-city road trip of the season.

Hellickson is hoping to regain his July form and rebound from a poor showing in his first start this month. After turning in quality starts in each of his five outings last month en route to a 2.67 ERA, Hellickson served up four runs on eight hits and four walks while lasting just four innings in a 4-0 loss to the Orioles on Saturday.

"They made me work a little bit and I threw a lot of pitches that first inning," said Hellickson, who threw 31 of his 88 pitches in the opening frame. "They saw everything and were just dialed in the whole game."

Rays: Longoria feeling good after return
Evan Longoria, who returned to the Rays' lineup for the first time in more than three months Tuesday night, looked a lot like his old self on Thursday, going 3-for-5 with two RBIs.

Manager Joe Maddon said after the game that Longoria's status is uncertain for Friday.

"We're gonna wait until I see how he feels [Friday], I'll talk to the trainers," Maddon said. "The point is to not break him."

Twins: Doumit providing second-half pop
Ryan Doumit has been a pleasant surprise at the plate all season for the Twins, but lately he's even added some extra pop.

Doumit has already hit five homers since last month's All-Star break to raise his season total to 12. He's also notched 13 multihit games in 31 contests since the start of July after recording just 13 such performances in 62 games over the season's first three months.

"He's made some adjustments, in his stance more than anything," Gardenhire said. "He's a little more straight up, and [he's] seeing the ball a little bit better. He's been using the whole field. I think he feels like he has better balance driving the ball and using his legs better."

Worth noting
• Hellickson is 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in his career against Minnesota, and the only current Twins players with hits off Hellickson are Denard Span and Josh Willingham (one apiece).

• The Twins haven't taken the season series from the Rays since 2006, when they went 6-1 against Tampa Bay. Comments