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Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (47-33) «0010000708100
Minnesota (44-37)0121000026130

Rays rally to beat Twins; Thome passes Killebrew on HR list

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- While Twins slugger Jim Thome was clubbing his way up the home run chart, Matt Joyce was sitting on the Rays' bench, just waiting for his shot to do something special.

His chance finally came with the game tied in the eighth inning and Joyce stole some thunder from one of the best power hitters to ever play the game.

All-time HR leaders
PlayerTotal
1. Barry Bonds762
2. Hank Aaron755
3. Babe Ruth714
4. Willie Mays660
5. Ken Griffey Jr.630
6. Sammy Sosa609
7. Alex Rodriguez-y595
8. Frank Robinson586
9. Mark McGwire583
10. Jim Thome-y574
y-active

Joyce's pinch-hit grand slam capped a seven-run eighth inning, rallying Tampa Bay to an 8-6 victory over Minnesota on Saturday and spoiling a big day for Thome.

"I was ready from the fifth on," Joyce said. "I was on red alert, defcon 5. I had taken some swings in the cage and I was just ready for whenever I was needed."

Thome homered twice to move past Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew into 10th place on the career list. Francisco Liriano struck out 10 and allowed just one run in seven innings, but Minnesota's normally reliable bullpen couldn't hold a 4-1 lead in the eighth.

Thome has 574 home runs, but it was Joyce's first in more than a year that proved the difference.

In a new ballpark that has played so big all season, Joyce became the fifth player to hit one out to center field.

"There's not a lot of balls that go out in that area," Joyce said. "I was yelling 'Go! Go!' at the ball as I was running the bases."

The Twins scored twice in the ninth on a double by Thome and a single by Denard Span, but Rafael Soriano got Orlando Hudson to ground out for his 20th save in 21 chances.

Carl Crawford had two hits and two RBI, one of them a single off Jose Mijares in the eighth that cut the lead to 4-2.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went to Matt Guerrier (1-4) for the fifth time in seven days, and his first two pitches were an RBI single by Evan Longoria and a double by Willy Aybar that tied the game at 4.

Joyce carried a .158 average to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. But his first home run since June 2, 2009, just cleared the wall in center field to complete the comeback.

"I didn't think it was a home run," Guerrier said. "We haven't seen many balls go out in center. I definitely think other times guys have hit balls better, but it went out. What are you going to say?"

It was a major disappointment for the largest crowd in Target Field history, which spent the first seven innings giving Thome standing ovations for his achievement.

"I talked to Jim quite a bit when I was in spring training," Killebrew said from Arizona after Thome's first homer. "I told him, 'Don't feel bad if you pass me up, because I passed up a lot of guys in my career."'

Thome hit solo homers in the second and fourth to pass Killebrew, one of the most beloved players in Twins history. Thome drew a curtain call from 40,852 fans after the second homer and a congratulatory message from "The Killer."

"That's something that will go down in my book as one of the better moments in my career," said Thome, who met Killebrew for the first time in spring training this year. "He's a legend and a legendary person, too. That's what makes it even better."

Liriano dominated for seven innings, striking out every Rays hitter at least once. Gardenhire decided to send Alex Burnett out to start the eighth with Liriano's pitch count at 103 on a steamy day, and the bullpen with the lowest ERA in the AL faltered badly.

Burnett and Mijares could not get an out before a gassed Guerrier, who had a 1.93 ERA before Saturday, gave up the deciding runs.

"Our bullpen's been very good. Today it just didn't work out. No matter who I went to it seemed to be the wrong move," Gardenhire said. "I'll take that one on myself."

B.J. Upton went 0 for 3 with a walk in his return to the starting lineup after four days off because of a quadriceps injury. It was his first start since a confrontation with Longoria in the Rays' dugout on Sunday.

Randy Choate (1-2) pitched one inning for the win. Tampa Bay starter Wade Davis had another rough outing, giving up four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Joe Mauer had three hits to get his average back above .300 and Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer for the Twins.

Notes

  • Longoria had two hits and an RBI.
  • Twins SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) was activated from the disabled list and had two hits, a double and a single.
  • Killebrew recently held a charity golf tournament in Arizona for his granddaughter, Caitlyn Mae White. The 9-year-old was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy with WPW Syndrom in May and will need a heart transplant if medication does not work. Those who want to help Killebrew's granddaughter can send donations to The Caitlyn May White Trust, c/o Megan Aubrey, Trustee, 6748 N. Double Eagle Lane, Meridian, ID, 83646.
 
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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Jim Thome smacks two homers against the Rays to move into 10th place on the career homer list.  (AP)
Jim Thome smacks two homers against the Rays to move into 10th place on the career homer list. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

M. Joyce
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Minnesota

J. Thome
AB 4
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 3
 
Tampa Bay Rays
Sean Rodriguez, 2B5120011 .267
Carl Crawford, LF5122011 .320
Evan Longoria, 3B5121012 .294
Willy Aybar, DH4111012 .254
Kelly Shoppach, C2000110 .227
   a- John Jaso, PH-C1000002 .274
B.J. Upton, CF3100111 .223
Ben Zobrist, 1B-RF4000024 .288
Gabe Kapler, RF3110011 .218
   b- Matt Joyce, PH1114000 .200
    Carlos Pena, 1B0000000 .196
Jason Bartlett, SS3110010 .221
Totals368108210  
a-grounded out for Shoppach in the 8th
b-homered for Kapler in the 8th
Batting
2B - Carl Crawford (19, Mijares), Willy Aybar (5, Guerrier), Jason Bartlett (14, Burnett)
HR - Matt Joyce (1, Guerrier)
SH - Jason Bartlett (6)
RBI - Carl Crawford 2 (41), Evan Longoria (56), Willy Aybar (22), Matt Joyce 4 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford (13), Matt Joyce 4 (4)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Zobrist-Longoria-Cormier, Bartlett-S. Rodriguez-Zobrist
Tampa Bay Rays
Wade Davis 4.1844013 4.86
Lance Cormier 1.1100000 4.50
Dan Wheeler 0.1100000 3.28
Randy Choate (W,1-2) 1000010 5.85
Joaquin Benoit 1000020 0.76
Grant Balfour0222000 2.16
Rafael Soriano (S,20) 1100000 1.52
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 73-52, Lance Cormier 10-6, Dan Wheeler 6-4, Randy Choate 6-4, Joaquin Benoit 17-11, Grant Balfour 5-4, Rafael Soriano 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 6-6, Lance Cormier 3-0, Randy Choate 1-0, Rafael Soriano 3-0
Batters Faced - Wade Davis 21, Lance Cormier 4, Dan Wheeler 2, Randy Choate 2, Joaquin Benoit 3, Grant Balfour 2, Rafael Soriano 4
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF5011012 .278
Orlando Hudson, 2B5000002 .274
Joe Mauer, C4130000 .303
Justin Morneau, 1B4112012 .342
Jason Kubel, RF3000001 .260
    Nick Punto, 3B1000010 .253
Michael Cuddyer, 3B-RF4120000 .264
Jim Thome, DH4333001 .258
Delmon Young, LF4010011 .295
J.J. Hardy, SS4020002 .225
Totals38613604  
Batting
2B - Joe Mauer (24, Davis), Michael Cuddyer (18, Balfour), Jim Thome (10, Balfour), Delmon Young (21, Davis), J.J. Hardy (6, Davis)
HR - Justin Morneau (17, Davis), Jim Thome 2 (10, Davis, Davis)
RBI - Denard Span (35), Justin Morneau 2 (54), Jim Thome 3 (25)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span (16), Justin Morneau 2 (23), Jim Thome (8)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
PB - Joe Mauer (4)
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano 74111100 3.32
Alex Burnett0222000 3.63
Jose Mijares0111000 2.65
Matt Guerrier (BS,3; L,1-4) 1344101 2.82
Ron Mahay 1000000 3.91
WP - Francisco Liriano (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 103-67, Alex Burnett 13-10, Jose Mijares 3-1, Matt Guerrier 21-13, Ron Mahay 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 8-3, Matt Guerrier 2-1, Ron Mahay 2-1
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 26, Alex Burnett 2, Jose Mijares 1, Matt Guerrier 7, Ron Mahay 3
Game Information
Attendance - 40852
Game Time - 3:12
Temperature - 90
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Jeff Nelson