Minnesota at Tampa Bay

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Minnesota (37-51)01000000003121
Tampa Bay (52-40) «00200000014120

Zobrist's two-out single lifts Rays over Twins in 13 innings

CBSSports.com wire reports
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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.

Yunel Escobar singled with one out in the 13th and took second with two outs on Pressly's errant pickoff throw. After Luke Scott walked on a full count, Zobrist singled.

"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."

Pedro Florimon hit a two-run, third-inning homer and Clete Thomas had a RBI single in the fifth to give the Twins a 3-1 lead against Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.

Kelly Johnson's two-run homer off Minnesota starter Kevin Correia made it 3-all in the sixth.

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.

Arcia also couldn't get the potential go-ahead run home in the 13th, striking out after Joe Mauer singled and moved to third on Ryan Doumit's two-out single off Ramos.

"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.

Notes

  • Evan Longoria went 1 for 4 with an infield single, two walks and a pair of strikeouts. The Tampa Bay star is 6 for 44 with no extra-base hits over his last 14 games -- the longest extra-base hit drought of his career.
  • Johnson went 2 for 3 against Correia and is 9 for 25 lifetime against the right-hander.
  • Florimon's homer was his first since June 9 at Washington.
  • Since being promoted from Triple-A Durham for the second time this season on June 1, Rays LHP Alex Torres leads all American League relievers who've worked a minimum of 15 innings with an 0.42 ERA. He's allowed one earned run in last 21 2-3 innings, while limiting opposing hitters to an .085 batting average.
  • Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb, out since being hit in the right ear by a line drive on June 15, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Thursday.
  • Minnesota 1B Justin Morneau singled in the ninth for his 1,276th career hit, tying Gary Gaetti for seventh on the Twins' all-time list.
 
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Ben Zobrist (center) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a game-winning RBI single in the 13th inning. (USATSI)
Ben Zobrist (center) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a game-winning RBI single in the 13th inning. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

K. Johnson
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Minnesota

J. Mauer
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Clete Thomas, RF6011021 .250
Jamey Carroll, 2B3000021 .215
    Chris Parmelee, PH1000010 .234
    Brian Dozier, 2B2000000 .233
Joe Mauer, DH5030100 .316
Justin Morneau, 1B6010033 .270
Ryan Doumit, C6030013 .241
Oswaldo Arcia, LF6000046 .268
Aaron Hicks, CF5110023 .203
Eduardo Escobar, 3B5120021 .214
Pedro Florimon, SS5112022 .225
Totals503123119  
a-struck out for Carroll in the 8th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Florimon-Morneau
E - Ryan Pressly (1, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kevin Correia 5.1533561 4.23
Jared Burton 0.2100010 3.92
Caleb Thielbar 1000120 0.43
Casey Fien 1000010 3.19
Anthony Swarzak 2.2300040 3.61
Brian Duensing 1100110 4.86
Ryan Pressly (L,2-1) 1211110 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
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF7020022 .267
Luke Scott, DH4020311 .269
Ben Zobrist, 2B5011223 .261
Evan Longoria, 3B4010222 .284
James Loney, 1B6110026 .313
Wil Myers, RF5120101 .256
Kelly Johnson, LF5122021 .239
    Sam Fuld, PH-LF1000012 .200
Jose Molina, C2000010 .259
    Matt Joyce, PH1000000 .244
    Jose Lobaton, C2000010 .277
Yunel Escobar, SS5111020 .248
Totals474124816  
a-announced for Johnson in the 12th
b-struck out for S. Rodriguez in the 12th
c-flied out for Molina in the 8th
Batting
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
Fielding
DP - Loney-Escobar
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hellickson 6633081 4.67
Jake McGee 1000030 4.58
Joel Peralta 1000020 3.32
Fernando Rodney 1200020 3.89
Jamey Wright 2100110 2.93
Kyle Farnsworth 1.1100020 4.44
Cesar Ramos (W,2-2) 0.2200010 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
Game Information
Attendance - 12757
Game Time - 4:47
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Al Porter, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - Jerry Layne, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt