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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Josh Willingham kept his hot stretch going with a hit at the perfect time.
"Another big night for our left fielder, what's his name? ... Willingham," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said with a smile. "I seem to be calling that name out an awful lot. He's fun to watch. He's been on the baseball, that's for sure."
Willingham's hit in the seventh off Joel Peralta puts him one away from tying Kirby Puckett's team mark of hitting safely in 15 straight games to start the 1994 season.
"I was just battling," Willingham said. "That was a 1-2 count. I was looking for anything. I was trying to see the ball out of his hand. Just reacted to the fastball."
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The Twins also got two RBI from Joe Mauer, who went 2 for 3 with two walks. Mauer is 31 for 70 overall at Tropicana Field.
"For whatever reason I see the ball pretty good here," Mauer said. "So hopefully I can continue that the next couple days."
"They just beat us," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "They got the hit that they needed, we did not and they won. So we just have to move on."
"That's the way that guy is," Gardenhire said of Longoria. "You make a mistake and he kills it, and he did."
Mauer had put the Twins ahead 2-0 on RBI singles in the first and fifth.
"We're never out of it until the 27th out is recorded," Mauer said. "It's a big difference between this year and last year. Guys keep fighting, keep swinging the bats and that's what you got to do."
Joyce cut the Rays' deficit to 2-1 during the fifth on his fourth homer of the season.
Hendriks gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Tampa Bay's Matt Moore allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Upton hurt his lower back in an outfield collision with teammate Desmond Jennings during a spring training game against Miami on March 14. He grounded out with a runner on third and two outs in the second, and finished 0 for 3.
|Josh Willingham is one away from Kirby Puckett's team record of hitting safely in the first 15 games of the 1994 season. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Denard Span, CF||5||2||2||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Jamey Carroll, SS||3||2||2||0||2||0||1||.245|
|Joe Mauer, DH||3||0||2||2||2||0||3||.302|
|Josh Willingham, LF||4||0||1||3||1||0||3||.333|
|Danny Valencia, 3B||5||0||1||0||0||2||7||.255|
|Ryan Doumit, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.225|
|Trevor Plouffe, RF||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.154|
|Clete Thomas, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Chris Parmelee, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.289|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.263|
|2B - Jamey Carroll (3, Badenhop), Josh Willingham (4, Peralta)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (9), Josh Willingham 3 (12)|
|2-OUT RBI - Josh Willingham 3 (4)|
|SB - Denard Span (2, 2nd base off Moore/Gimenez), Jamey Carroll (1, 2nd base off Moore/Gimenez)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Casilla-Carroll-Parmelee|
|E - Ryan Doumit (1, Throwing)|
|Matt Maloney (W,1-0)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.32|
|Jared Burton (H,3)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||4.50|
|Brian Duensing (H,2)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.00|
|Matt Capps (S,4)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.50|
|WP - Liam Hendriks (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Liam Hendriks 101-56, Matt Maloney 7-5, Jared Burton 14-8, Brian Duensing 3-3, Matt Capps 9-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Liam Hendriks 7-7, Jared Burton 1-1, Matt Capps 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Liam Hendriks 22, Matt Maloney 3, Jared Burton 4, Brian Duensing 1, Matt Capps 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.263|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B||2||0||0||0||2||1||0||.217|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.308|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||3||1||1||2||1||0||0||.327|
|Luke Scott, DH||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.278|
|Matt Joyce, RF||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.306|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.000|
|Chris Gimenez, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.364|
|Sean Rodriguez, SS||3||1||1||0||0||1||0||.222|
|HR - Evan Longoria (3, Hendriks), Matt Joyce (4, Hendriks)|
|RBI - Evan Longoria 2 (13), Matt Joyce (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria 2 (6)|
|CS - Evan Longoria (1, 2nd base by Hendriks/Doumit)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|DP - Longoria-Zobrist-Pena, Longoria-Pena, Moore-Zobrist-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Brandon Gomes (L,0-1)||0||1||2||2||1||0||0||27.00|
|Joel Peralta (BS,1)||0.2||1||0||0||0||0||0||13.50|
|IBB - Mauer by Burke Badenhop|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 106-60, Brandon Gomes 9-5, Joel Peralta 11-9, Burke Badenhop 35-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 8-6, Burke Badenhop 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Matt Moore 27, Brandon Gomes 2, Joel Peralta 3, Burke Badenhop 9|
|Attendance - 18763|
|Game Time - 3:09|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Winters, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Brian Knight|