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Tampa Bay at Minnesota

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Tampa Bay «0000130026100
Minnesota010010200490

Two ninth-inning doubles lift Rays over Nathan, Twins

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are quickly convincing themselves they can win on the road.

Dioner Navarro hit a tiebreaking double off ace closer Joe Nathan in the ninth inning and Tampa Bay beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on Sunday to split their four-game series.

The Devil Rays, who had lost 10 straight at the Metrodome entering the series, improved to 4-5 on the road this season after winning only three of their final 36 games away from home last year.

"It really doesn't matter where we play anymore," said Delmon Young, who hit a two-run homer. "That has been pounded at us since spring training. I know the history of this team, but a lot of the young guys have only been together since April."

Navarro's second hit of the game snapped a 4-all tie and sent Nathan (1-1) to his first loss since September 6, 2005.

Nathan came on in the ninth with the game tied. Akinori Iwamura greeted him with a double and scored on Navarro's double. Carlos Pena's RBI single made it 6-4.

"I don't think we could have done this last year. I liked our approach at the plate all day," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I think we are developing a lineup that can score in all spots of the order."

Brian Stokes (1-2) worked a scoreless eighth and Al Reyes struck out two in a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

Young homered in the sixth to break a 2-all tie and extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Brendan Harris also connected for the Devil Rays, who lead the AL in home runs with 19.

The young Devil Rays earned their split at the Metrodome the hard way, beating two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana on Friday before touching up Nathan.

"It was a nice bounce-back after last night," Maddon said, referring to a 12-5 loss on Saturday. "We had a good effort all through the batting order and received some excellent situational hitting. I like to believe we can do this more often."

Jason Bartlett snapped a 3-for-25 skid with three hits and two RBI to lead the Twins. Minnesota starter Boof Bonser tied a career high with eight strikeouts and took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning.

Tampa Bay starter Jae Seo went a season-high seven innings and had a chance for his first win since July, but the Twins tied it in the seventh. With one out, Torii Hunter singled and scored on Jason Kubel's double. One out later, Bartlett tied it with his third hit of the game -- a grounder to deep shortstop that he beat out.

It stayed that way until the ninth when the Devil Rays, who had never scored against Nathan in 11 previous innings, broke through.

"I know I'm not perfect," Nathan said. "I had pretty good stuff today, actually. They hit good pitches."

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire didn't sound too concerned about his All-Star reliever.

"He's my closer. He's fine," Gardenhire said. "It happens to the best of them and he's the best. Our biggest issue right now is our health."

Nick Punto, struggling with a .132 batting average, sat out for the second consecutive game. Gardenhire said Punto will have an MRI exam on his left ankle Monday.

"We really don't have a third baseman in Triple-A," Gardenhire said.

Luis Rodriguez played there Sunday and went 0-for-3.

Twins outfielder Rondell White is also out.

The Devil Rays open an eight-game homestand Monday against Baltimore. Their overall record of 5-7 might not seem like much, but to Maddon it is real progress.

"Things do change as the season progresses," he said. "We have a good AL lineup now with speed and power."

Notes

  • Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford wore No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, as did Hunter and Twins first base coach Jerry White.
  • Minnesota C Joe Mauer was presented with the Silver Bat, emblematic of winning the 2006 AL batting championship. Mauer, who sat out Sunday for the first time this season, was the first catcher to win the AL crown when he hit .347 last year.
  • Mauer and Justin Morneau, the AL MVP, were also given their Silver Slugger awards.
  • The Twins have played 10 home games, tops in the major leagues. They are off Monday and start a three-game series at Seattle on Tuesday.
  • Tampa Bay has played only three games at home. The Devil Rays play 30 of their next 44 games in Florida.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Dioner Navarro sends the Rays home happy after his RBI in the ninth breaks the tie, wins the game.  (AP)
Dioner Navarro sends the Rays home happy after his RBI in the ninth breaks the tie, wins the game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

D. Navarro
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Minnesota

J. Bartlett
AB 3
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Rocco Baldelli, CF5020012 .255
Brendan Harris, SS5111022 .300
Carl Crawford, LF4110102 .255
Ty Wigginton, 2B4000012 .313
Delmon Young, RF4112010 .347
Akinori Iwamura, 3B2110210 .395
Dioner Navarro, C4221010 .233
Carlos Pena, 1B3011121 .217
Jonny Gomes, DH4011011 .200
Totals356106410  
Batting
2B - Akinori Iwamura (2, Nathan), Dioner Navarro (3, Nathan)
HR - Brendan Harris (2, Bonser), Delmon Young (3, Bonser)
RBI - Brendan Harris (4), Delmon Young 2 (10), Dioner Navarro (4), Carlos Pena (7), Jonny Gomes (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jonny Gomes (1)
CS - Rocco Baldelli (1, 2nd base by Bonser/Redmond), Akinori Iwamura (2, 2nd base by Bonser/Redmond)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Harris-Wigginton-Pena, Seo-Wigginton-Harris-Pena
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jae Seo 7944040 7.71
Brian Stokes (W,1-2) 1000000 5.14
Al Reyes (S,4) 1000020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jae Seo 89-62, Brian Stokes 7-6, Al Reyes 18-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jae Seo 7-8, Brian Stokes 2-1
Batters Faced - Jae Seo 28, Brian Stokes 3, Al Reyes 3
Minnesota Twins
Alexi Casilla, 2B4000033 .100
Jason Tyner, LF4010001 .300
Mike Redmond, C4000001 .077
Michael Cuddyer, RF4110001 .356
Justin Morneau, 1B4010000 .289
Torii Hunter, CF4111010 .273
Jason Kubel, DH4221021 .296
Luis Rodriguez, 3B3000003 .250
Jason Bartlett, SS3032000 .214
Totals3449406  
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (3, Seo), Jason Kubel (2, Seo)
RBI - Torii Hunter (8), Jason Kubel (5), Jason Bartlett 2 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bartlett 2 (2)
SB - Jason Kubel (1, 2nd base off Seo/Navarro)
Team LOB - 3
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser 5.1644382 6.89
Dennys Reyes 0.2000110 11.25
Matt Guerrier 2000000 0.00
Joe Nathan (L,1-1) 1422010 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 93-58, Dennys Reyes 15-8, Matt Guerrier 21-12, Joe Nathan 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 5-1, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Matt Guerrier 2-4
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 23, Dennys Reyes 3, Matt Guerrier 6, Joe Nathan 7
Game Information
Attendance - 27024
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Ed Montague, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Tony Randazzo