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Tampa Bay at Minnesota

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Tampa Bay (46-32) «00011010115120
Minnesota (43-36)0200001100472

Aybar lifts Rays to back-and-forth win against Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- On the last day for fans to make their All-Star Game picks, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon offered a final plug for his track-star-fast left fielder Carl Crawford.

Crawford's exposure is low playing for the Rays, but the Minnesota Twins don't need a scouting report.

Willy Aybar's single off Matt Guerrier gave the Rays a 10th-inning lead in a back-and-forth 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, after Crawford cruised from first to home with the tying run on Evan Longoria's two-out double in the ninth.

"Just wanted to try to get back to grinding out the games and playing hard all the way to the end," Crawford said.

Jon Rauch blew a save for the fourth time this season when Crawford -- who had four hits, a stolen base and an RBI -- stuck his bat out on a 2-2 fastball from Rauch for a single to keep the game going. Then Longoria crushed a 2-2 fastball to left, the opportunity for Crawford to use his special speed and score.

"I was just on deck praying that C.C. would get on again and give me another chance," Longoria said.

Rauch said the pitch to Crawford was right where he wanted it, down and away.

"He got the end of the bat on it and hit it up the middle," Rauch said, adding: I got beat. That's it. Sometimes that happens."

Crawford was third among AL outfielders in the most recently released voting results this week.

"If he was able to be able to be seen more nationally, it would be a slam dunk," Maddon said before the game. "He toils a little bit in the obscurity of where we work. I would really not understand why he would not be voted in. He's the kind of baseball player everybody likes to watch."

Jeff Niemann, who watched the Rays get no-hit in his last start by Arizona's Edwin Jackson, has finished at least the sixth in 15 straight starts. Lance Cormier (3-1) pitched a perfect ninth, and Rafael Soriano picked up his 20th save.

Delmon Young homered, drove in two runs and prevented another with an inning-ending outfield assist against his former team, but Carl Pavano took his first no-decision of the season and his top two relievers -- Rauch and Guerrier (1-3) -- didn't hold up at the end.

"You can point your finger at Jon -- he gave up that one run -- but earlier in the game it's my job to close the door," said Pavano, who gave up two two-out runs. He added: "I cost us the game."

Shortstop Nick Punto cost Pavano an unearned run with a two-out error in the fifth.

Pavano's performance in June, featuring four straight wins and consecutive complete-game victories on the road, was about the only bright spot of a borderline bad month for Minnesota.

Pavano might owe it all to the mustache. He got rid of the goatee and left the above-the-lip hair after a terrible start at Toronto on May 18, and since then he's 5-2 with a 2.64 ERA in eight starts and averaging just under eight innings per turn.

The awkward-looking, Inspector Clouseau-like mustache is threatening to surpass Joe Mauer's trademark sideburns in popularity, too. Fans are showing up at the stadium with replicas, and one young man proudly pointed to his when pictured on the jumbo video screen.

Pavano's scoreless innings streak ended at 16 in the fourth, but Young -- the formerly troubled prodigy who was traded by the Rays to the Twins before the 2008 season -- fielded Aybar's single and fired a perfect throw to Mauer at the plate to get Matt Joyce on a close play and end the inning.

Mauer started the eighth inning with a double to right and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kubel, giving the Twins the lead that Rauch lost. Mauer hit three straight balls hard and deep to left, all caught by Crawford, and his batting average dipped below .300 briefly for the first time since April 7.

During the second at-bat, Mauer tried to drop a bunt down the third base line, but it drifted foul.

Notes

  • Crawford leads the majors with seven four-hit games.
  • The Rays kept CF B.J. Upton out of the lineup for a third straight game. Upton, who has a sore right quadriceps muscle, was available to play if needed, Maddon said.
  • Twins RHP Kevin Slowey might switch spots with Pavano in the rotation for an extra day to rest his sore right ankle.
  • Twins IF Matt Tolbert's right middle finger is hurting after he fielded a ball in Wednesday's game, and he could go on the DL.
  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the 10th for arguing. Young's throw to third base beat Kelly Shoppach by a few yards, but umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled Michael Cuddyer didn't tag him. Replays suggested otherwise.
 
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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Reid Brignac celebrates in the dugout after scoring what would be the game-winning run. (AP)
Reid Brignac celebrates in the dugout after scoring what would be the game-winning run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

C. Crawford
AB 6
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
Minnesota

D. Young
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Ben Zobrist, CF4120200 .296
Carl Crawford, LF6241004 .317
Evan Longoria, 3B5011024 .292
Carlos Pena, 1B5000037 .199
Matt Joyce, RF2000100 .188
   a- Gabe Kapler, PH-RF1000000 .214
   b- Reid Brignac, PH-2B1110000 .277
John Jaso, C3011000 .271
   c- Kelly Shoppach, PH-C0000100 .263
Willy Aybar, DH5021013 .244
Sean Rodriguez, 2B-RF5110013 .258
Jason Bartlett, SS4000012 .220
Totals41512448  
a-fouled out for Joyce in the 8th
b-singled for Kapler in the 10th
c-walked for Jaso in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist (15, Pavano), Evan Longoria (23, Rauch)
SH - Jason Bartlett (5)
RBI - Carl Crawford (39), Evan Longoria (54), John Jaso (26), Willy Aybar (21)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (19), John Jaso (6)
SB - Ben Zobrist (14, 2nd base off Pavano/Mauer), Carl Crawford (29, 2nd base off Pavano/Mauer)
Team LOB - 12
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 6.2633251 2.80
Grant Balfour 0.1000010 1.62
Randy Choate 0.1111000 6.16
Joaquin Benoit 0.2000000 0.79
Lance Cormier (W,3-1) 1000010 4.70
Rafael Soriano (S,19) 1000000 1.57
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 104-69, Grant Balfour 5-3, Randy Choate 10-5, Joaquin Benoit 5-4, Lance Cormier 10-6, Rafael Soriano 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-10, Lance Cormier 2-0, Rafael Soriano 1-2
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 28, Grant Balfour 1, Randy Choate 2, Joaquin Benoit 2, Lance Cormier 3, Rafael Soriano 3
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF5010012 .281
Orlando Hudson, 2B4000121 .283
Joe Mauer, C5110001 .300
Justin Morneau, 1B4110001 .348
Jason Kubel, RF3001001 .262
Michael Cuddyer, 3B4111010 .263
Jim Thome, DH3000121 .242
Delmon Young, LF4122001 .296
Nick Punto, SS4010010 .258
Totals3647427  
Batting
2B - Joe Mauer (23, Choate), Justin Morneau (24, Niemann), Michael Cuddyer (17, Niemann)
HR - Delmon Young (9, Niemann)
SF - Jason Kubel (3)
RBI - Jason Kubel (44), Michael Cuddyer (36), Delmon Young 2 (53)
2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (25)
SB - Denard Span (16, 2nd base off Balfour/Jaso), Orlando Hudson (6, 2nd base off Niemann/Jaso)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Delmon Young 2
E - Michael Cuddyer (3, Missed catch of throw), Nick Punto (5, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Carl Pavano 6.1732240 3.30
Ron Mahay0100000 4.09
Alex Burnett 0.1000010 3.12
Jose Mijares 1000110 2.12
Jesse Crain 0.1000010 4.22
Jon Rauch (BS,4) 1211010 2.61
Matt Guerrier (L,1-3) 0.2211100 1.93
Brian Duensing 0.1000000 1.82
HBP - Shoppach (by Matt Guerrier)
WP - Carl Pavano (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 111-68, Ron Mahay 2-2, Alex Burnett 8-5, Jose Mijares 16-9, Jesse Crain 3-3, Jon Rauch 22-14, Matt Guerrier 15-8, Brian Duensing 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 12-3, Brian Duensing 1-0
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 28, Ron Mahay 1, Alex Burnett 1, Jose Mijares 4, Jesse Crain 1, Jon Rauch 5, Matt Guerrier 6, Brian Duensing 1
Game Information
Attendance - 40665
Game Time - 3:49
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez