|Tampa Bay (67-39) «||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||x||6||6||1|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted checking the out-of-town scoreboard and liking what he saw.
Rodriguez homered in the first inning. Upton put the Rays ahead 6-3 with his tiebreaking drive in the seventh.
Jeff Niemann (10-3) allowed three runs and eight hits over seven innings. Tampa Bay moved one game ahead of the New York Yankees, who lost to Toronto 8-2.
"Obviously it's nice," Maddon said. "I'm looking at the scoreboard, I knew the Yankees had lost. Probably a lot of the other guys did, too. We want to be in first place. We want to win the division. Now it's up to us to maintain that position."
Tampa Bay last had sole possession of first place on June 12.
"It's always a good feeling, but there's still a lot of games left," Rodriguez said.
"It will be fine," he said.
Mauer was back in the starting lineup and went 3 for 4 with three RBI as the designated hitter. The reigning American League MVP, dealing with tendinitis in his right shoulder, sat out two straight games after receiving a cortisone shot in the shoulder on Saturday. It has not been determined when Mauer will play behind the plate.
"Just have to go day by day with him and see how his arm feels," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game. "The one thing we want to do is make sure we give him plenty of time to let his arm heal."
"I can't lie, it felt pretty good," Upton said.
Guerrier is 0-3, allowing eight runs over two innings, in three games against Tampa Bay ths year.
Tampa Bay went ahead 3-1 in the first on Rodriguez's three-run shot off Nick Blackburn, his first homer since July 4. Rodriguez had just one RBI in his previous 14 games.
It was the first homer allowed by a Twins pitcher in 310 plate appearances.
Butera tied it at 3 with a solo homer in the seventh.
Mauer put the Twins up 1-0 on a first-inning RBI single. His RBI single in the third cut the Minnesota deficit to 3-2.
The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but failed to score. After Niemann intentionally walked Mauer with runners on second and third, Delmon Young flied out and Jason Kubel popped out.
"We had our chances," Gardenhire said. "They made pitches when they had to."
Young was hitless in five at-bats, including a game-ending grounder with two in the ninth, and had his 12-game hitting streak end.
|B.J. Upton (center) receives congratulations for a three-run HR, which represents half of the Rays' runs. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Denard Span, CF||5||2||2||0||0||0||1||.277|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.260|
|a- Jim Thome, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.251|
|J.J. Hardy, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Joe Mauer, DH||4||0||3||3||1||1||0||.318|
|Delmon Young, LF||5||0||0||0||0||0||7||.330|
|Jason Kubel, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||.261|
|Michael Cuddyer, 1B||4||0||2||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Danny Valencia, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.360|
|Trevor Plouffe, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.115|
|b- Jason Repko, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.316|
|Drew Butera, C||2||2||2||1||1||0||0||.200|
|c- Jose Morales, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Casilla in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Plouffe in the 9th|
|c-walked for Butera in the 9th|
|2B - Denard Span (15, Niemann), Michael Cuddyer (25, Niemann)|
|HR - Drew Butera (2, Niemann)|
|SH - Alexi Casilla (3)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer 3 (56), Drew Butera (8)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (26)|
|SB - Michael Cuddyer (3, 3rd base off Niemann/Shoppach)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Outfield Assists - Denard Span 1|
|DP - Valencia-Casilla-Cuddyer, Plouffe-Cuddyer|
|Matt Guerrier (L,1-6)||0.1||1||3||3||2||0||1||3.45|
|Pitches-Strikes - Brian Duensing 92-50, Matt Guerrier 16-6, Jose Mijares 6-4, Jesse Crain 6-4, Matt Capps 23-11, Ron Mahay 3-2|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Duensing 9-4, Matt Guerrier 1-0, Jose Mijares 1-0, Matt Capps 1-0, Ron Mahay 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Brian Duensing 24, Matt Guerrier 4, Jose Mijares 1, Jesse Crain 1, Matt Capps 4, Ron Mahay 1|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||2||3||0||2||1||.235|
|Carl Crawford, LF||3||1||0||0||1||0||2||.306|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||2||0||.292|
|Willy Aybar, DH||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.257|
|Sean Rodriguez, 2B||2||1||1||3||2||0||1||.258|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||2||0||0||0||2||0||1||.000|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.240|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||.198|
|a- John Jaso, PH-C||1||1||0||0||1||0||2||.271|
|Gabe Kapler, RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.209|
|b- Matt Joyce, PH-RF||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||.244|
|a-walked for Shoppach in the 7th|
|b-walked for Kapler in the 7th|
|HR - B.J. Upton (9, Guerrier), Sean Rodriguez (7, Duensing)|
|RBI - B.J. Upton 3 (38), Sean Rodriguez 3 (34)|
|2-OUT RBI - Sean Rodriguez 3 (14)|
|SB - Sean Rodriguez (8, 2nd base off Capps/Butera)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Outfield Assists - Matt Joyce 1|
|DP - Longoria-S. Rodriguez-Johnson|
|E - Rafael Soriano (1, Missed catch of throw)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jeff Niemann (W,10-3)||7||8||3||3||2||4||1||3.12|
|Joaquin Benoit (H,15)||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0.70|
|Rafael Soriano (S,31)||1||1||1||0||1||1||0||1.85|
|IBB - Mauer by Jeff Niemann|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 104-67, Joaquin Benoit 13-9, Rafael Soriano 25-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 9-7, Joaquin Benoit 1-2, Rafael Soriano 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 30, Joaquin Benoit 4, Rafael Soriano 6|
|Attendance - 18261|
|Game Time - 2:55|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Crawford, First Base - Phil Cuzzi, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Brian O'Nora|