|Tampa Bay (52-40) «||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||12||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Solid pitching, stellar defense and disciplined offense that produced just enough runs to win again was a successful combination for the Rays again.
"It's just a formula for success in baseball when you do those different things," manager Joe Maddon said after the Tampa Bay Rays won their season-best seventh straight game on Wednesday night, beating the struggling Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Ben Zobrist's RBI single with two outs in the 13th inning.
"That's pretty basic, good stuff that everybody attempts to achieve," Maddon added. "But that's why we're winning as many games as we have."
Zobrist lined a 1-2 pitch from Ryan Pressly (2-1) into the gap in right-center field, ending a 4-hour, 47-minute game that featured 35 strikeouts -- 19 for Rays pitchers.
Tampa Bay climbed to a season-best 12 games over .500. The second-place Rays also improved to 9-1 during a stretch of 14 consecutive games against the Twins, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros -- teams with the three worst records in the American League.
The Twins have has lost 10 of 11, including four straight. They tied a franchise record by fanning 19 times for the first time since 1968.
"A long night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "A lot of pitches thrown by both teams. A lot of missed opportunities."
Cesar Ramos (2-2) got two outs, escaping a jam with runners at first and third in the 13th to get the win.
"I've had some timely hits, but it's been up and down the lineup," Zobrist said. "You think about the hits Luke Scott had today and the hits he's had lately, and you can't say enough tonight about our bullpen, shutting it down with men in scoring position and getting a lot of big strikeouts."
The game ended just before midnight, just over 12 hours before the teams wrap up a four-game series Thursday afternoon.
"When you win a game like that, there's a residual energy. When you don't win a game like that, you have to go looking for that energy," Maddon said. "It doesn't mean you win the next day, but it definitely makes it easier to walk in the door."
The Twins wasted opportunities to take the lead in the ninth and 11th. They failed to take advantage of a pair of singles to begin the ninth against closer Fernando Rodney, and let reliever Jamey Wright off the hook when Oswaldo Arcia grounded out to strand runners at second and third base in the 11th.
"He was just swinging out of the zone, going a little crazy there. A young kid trying to do too much," Gardenhire said of the 22-year-old Arcia's struggles. "Trying to hit an eight-run homer. ... All we need is one guy in, and he's swinging like a mad man. ... That's what happens with kids. You've got to live with it."
Tampa Bay nearly won it in the 10th. Wil Myers singled with two outs, and running on a 3-2 pitch would have scored easily from first base on Johnson's line drive that Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks leaped to catch before crashing into the wall.
Hellickson had won four consecutive starts, matching the longest streak of his career, before Wednesday night. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed three runs, six hits and struck out eight in six innings.
Correia limited the Rays to three singles and Escobar's second-inning sacrifice fly until James Loney singled to open the sixth. Johnson, in the lineup because of his history of success against the Minnesota starter, followed with his fifth home run in 25 career at-bats against Correia.
|Ben Zobrist (center) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a game-winning RBI single in the 13th inning. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
|Clete Thomas, RF||6||0||1||1||0||2||1||.250|
|Jamey Carroll, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.215|
|Chris Parmelee, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.234|
|Brian Dozier, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.233|
|Joe Mauer, DH||5||0||3||0||1||0||0||.316|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||6||0||1||0||0||3||3||.270|
|Ryan Doumit, C||6||0||3||0||0||1||3||.241|
|Oswaldo Arcia, LF||6||0||0||0||0||4||6||.268|
|Aaron Hicks, CF||5||1||1||0||0||2||3||.203|
|Eduardo Escobar, 3B||5||1||2||0||0||2||1||.214|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||5||1||1||2||0||2||2||.225|
|a-struck out for Carroll in the 8th|
|2B - Ryan Doumit (17, Wright), Aaron Hicks (10, Hellickson)|
|HR - Pedro Florimon (4, Hellickson)|
|RBI - Clete Thomas (8), Pedro Florimon 2 (28)|
|2-OUT RBI - Clete Thomas (2)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Florimon-Morneau|
|E - Ryan Pressly (1, Throwing)|
|Ryan Pressly (L,2-1)||1||2||1||1||1||1||0||2.74|
|IBB - Longoria by Caleb Thielbar, Myers by Brian Duensing|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Correia 104-58, Jared Burton 9-6, Caleb Thielbar 17-8, Casey Fien 8-7, Anthony Swarzak 50-31, Brian Duensing 17-9, Ryan Pressly 22-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Correia 5-4, Jared Burton 1-0, Caleb Thielbar 1-0, Anthony Swarzak 2-2, Brian Duensing 2-0, Ryan Pressly 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Kevin Correia 25, Jared Burton 3, Caleb Thielbar 4, Casey Fien 3, Anthony Swarzak 11, Brian Duensing 5, Ryan Pressly 6|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, CF||7||0||2||0||0||2||2||.267|
|Luke Scott, DH||4||0||2||0||3||1||1||.269|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B||5||0||1||1||2||2||3||.261|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||0||1||0||2||2||2||.284|
|James Loney, 1B||6||1||1||0||0||2||6||.313|
|Wil Myers, RF||5||1||2||0||1||0||1||.256|
|Kelly Johnson, LF||5||1||2||2||0||2||1||.239|
|Sam Fuld, PH-LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.200|
|Jose Molina, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.259|
|Matt Joyce, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.244|
|Jose Lobaton, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.277|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||5||1||1||1||0||2||0||.248|
|a-announced for Johnson in the 12th|
|b-struck out for S. Rodriguez in the 12th|
|c-flied out for Molina in the 8th|
|HR - Kelly Johnson (13, Correia)|
|SF - Yunel Escobar (3)|
|SH - Jose Molina (3)|
|RBI - Ben Zobrist (48), Kelly Johnson 2 (44), Yunel Escobar (39)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (14)|
|SB - Desmond Jennings (14, 3rd base off Thielbar/Doumit), Evan Longoria (1, 2nd base off Duensing/Doumit)|
|Team LOB - 15|
|DP - Loney-Escobar|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Cesar Ramos (W,2-2)||0.2||2||0||0||0||1||0||4.20|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 95-63, Jake McGee 13-9, Joel Peralta 22-15, Fernando Rodney 16-11, Jamey Wright 24-15, Kyle Farnsworth 19-13, Cesar Ramos 10-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 6-3, Fernando Rodney 1-0, Jamey Wright 2-3, Kyle Farnsworth 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 23, Jake McGee 3, Joel Peralta 3, Fernando Rodney 5, Jamey Wright 8, Kyle Farnsworth 5, Cesar Ramos 4|
|Attendance - 12757|
|Game Time - 4:47|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Al Porter, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt|