Minnesota at Tampa Bay

Scoreboard
Minnesota (59-48)1010001014100
Tampa Bay (67-39) «30000030x661

Rodriguez, Upton help Rays drop Twins to take AL East lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted checking the out-of-town scoreboard and liking what he saw.

Sean Rodriguez and B.J. Upton hit three-run homers and Tampa Bay beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on Tuesday night, winning for the 10th time in 11 games and taking over first place in the AL East.

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.

Rafael Soriano allowed an RBI single to Joe Mauer in the ninth before recording his 31st save. Soriano felt soreness after hitting his left knee on the ground covering first base during the inning.

"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."

Minnesota got a homer from Drew Butera. Brian Duensing gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.

After pinch-hitters John Jaso and Matt Joyce drew one-out walks from Matt Guerrier (1-6) in the seventh, Upton hit his ninth homer of the season into the left-field seats.

"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.

Notes

  • Minnesota 1B Justin Morneau, out with a concussion since July 7, hit in a cage in Minnesota. "Had a good day," Gardenhire said.
  • Tampa Bay INF-OF Ben Zobrist (lower back stiffness) could be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
  • Twins INF Orlando Hudson (strained right oblique) might return this weekend.
  • Rays 1B Carlos Pena (right foot soreness) will have his status evaluated Wednesday. The disabled list is still possible.
  • Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford grounded into just his second double play -- coming in his 394th at-bat -- this season in the fifth.
 
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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B.J. Upton (center) receives congratulations for a three-run HR, which represents half of the Rays' runs.  (AP)
B.J. Upton (center) receives congratulations for a three-run HR, which represents half of the Rays' runs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

B. Upton
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF5220001 .277
Alexi Casilla, 2B3000002 .260
   a- Jim Thome, PH1000000 .251
    J.J. Hardy, PR0000000 .258
Joe Mauer, DH4033110 .318
Delmon Young, LF5000007 .330
Jason Kubel, RF4010004 .261
Michael Cuddyer, 1B4020011 .276
Danny Valencia, 3B4000013 .360
Trevor Plouffe, SS3000011 .115
   b- Jason Repko, PH1000010 .316
Drew Butera, C2221100 .200
   c- Jose Morales, PH0000100 .000
Totals36410435  
a-grounded out for Casilla in the 9th
b-struck out for Plouffe in the 9th
c-walked for Butera in the 9th
Batting
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
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Denard Span 1
DP - Valencia-Casilla-Cuddyer, Plouffe-Cuddyer
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brian Duensing 6433431 2.10
Matt Guerrier (L,1-6) 0.1133201 3.45
Jose Mijares 0.1000000 2.59
Jesse Crain 0.1000010 3.05
Matt Capps 0.2100200 2.64
Ron Mahay 0.1000000 3.38
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
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
B.J. Upton, CF4123021 .235
Carl Crawford, LF3100102 .306
Evan Longoria, 3B4110020 .292
Willy Aybar, DH4010002 .257
Sean Rodriguez, 2B2113201 .258
Dan Johnson, 1B2000201 .000
Jason Bartlett, SS4010003 .240
Kelly Shoppach, C1000100 .198
   a- John Jaso, PH-C1100102 .271
Gabe Kapler, RF2000001 .209
   b- Matt Joyce, PH-RF0100100 .244
Totals2766684  
a-walked for Shoppach in the 7th
b-walked for Kapler in the 7th
Batting
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
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Matt Joyce 1
DP - Longoria-S. Rodriguez-Johnson
E - Rafael Soriano (1, Missed catch of throw)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeff Niemann (W,10-3) 7833241 3.12
Joaquin Benoit (H,15) 1100000 0.70
Rafael Soriano (S,31) 1110110 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
Game Information
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