ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon feels his team reached an important regular-season milestone.
Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist homered during a three-run seventh inning and the surging Rays improved to a season-high 10 games over .500 by beating the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on Monday night.
"The thing I like is that we're 10 games over," Maddon said. "You've got to go to 10, then you've got to go to 15, etc., etc. The major takeaway from tonight is the fact that we're 10 games over. We're playing, probably, our best baseball right now."
Escobar had a leadoff tiebreaking homer in the seventh off Samuel Deduno (4-4), who departed after Desmond Jennings followed with a triple. Caleb Thielbar entered and got one out before Zobrist gave Tampa Bay a 6-3 lead with a two-run shot.
"We're always ready to jump on an opportunity," Tampa Bay right fielder Wil Myers said. "That just shows what kind of team we are, and capable of those kind of things. I think that's big going down the stretch."
Alex Torres (3-0) pitched a perfect seventh for the Rays, who have won nine of 10. Escobar also had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
"We've been playing well," Maddon said. "Pitching well, catching the ball on defense and not expanding our strike zone. I just like the fact that we're showing kind of a comeback mentality right now."
Fernando Rodney got the final two outs to pick up his 20th save after an RBI single by Pedro Florimon off Jamey Wright.
Justin Morneau homered for the Twins, who have lost eight of nine. Deduno gave up five runs and 10 hits over six-plus innings. Thielbar had not allowed a run in his first 17 appearances during his rookie season before Zobrist's homer.
After Brian Dozier hit a third-inning RBI double, the Twins took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Morneau had a solo homer and Chris Parmelee added a sacrifice fly off Roberto Hernandez.
Minnesota went 4 for 4 with the sac fly during the fourth, but had Oswaldo Arcia thrown out trying to advance to second after hitting a single and Aaron Hicks picked off at first by Rays catcher Jose Molina.
"Guys were trying, but to the pickoff at first base with Hicksy, and Arcia trying to go to second base, silly stuff like that will end up shooting you in the end, and it did," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Morneau tied Bob Allison for fourth place on the Twins' career list with 211 homers.
Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but failed to score when Trevor Plouffe flew out. The Twins went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position through six innings.
Roberto Hernandez allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked three and hit a batter.
Tampa Bay tied it at 3 in the fifth on Evan Longoria's run-scoring single.
Luke Scott put the Rays up 1-0 on a first-inning homer. Molina made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the second.
Deduno got hit in the leg by James Loney's hard-hit infield single during the second, but stayed in the game.
|NY Mets||2||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Baltimore||5||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Kansas City||7||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Seattle||2||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Chicago WSox||0||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Philadelphia||0||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Pittsburgh||3||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Milwaukee||1||Top 8th Inning|
|Tampa Bay||0||Bottom 7th Inning|
|Houston||0||Bottom 4th Inning|
|St. Louis||0||Top 5th Inning|
|Arizona||0||Top 4th Inning|
|LA Angels - W. LeBlanc||9:05 PM|
|Oakland - S. Gray|
|San Francisco - M. Bumgarner||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke|
|Colorado - J. De La Rosa||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - R. Erlin|
|NY Giants||9/25/14 7:25 PM|
|Buffalo||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Green Bay||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Carolina||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Miami||9/28/14 12:00 PM|
|Jacksonville||9/28/14 3:05 PM|
|Atlanta||9/28/14 3:25 PM|
|Philadelphia||9/28/14 3:25 PM|
|New Orleans||9/28/14 7:30 PM|
|New England||9/29/14 7:30 PM|
|Carolina||0||3rd Prd 2:51|
|Pittsburgh||0||3rd Prd 5:49|
|Nashville||2||2nd Prd 8:03|
|San Jose||0||1st Prd 13:07|
|Texas Tech||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(24) Oklahoma State|
|Appalachian St||9/25/14 6:30 PM|
|(11) UCLA||9/25/14 9:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State|
|Middle Tennessee||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/26/14 7:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(25) Kansas State|
|Tennessee||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Vanderbilt||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Wyoming||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|(9) Michigan State|
|Northwestern||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|TCU||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Tulane||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|So Florida||9/27/14 11:00 AM|
|Colorado State||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Western Mich||9/27/14 11:30 AM|
|Maryland||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Akron||9/27/14 12:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||9/27/14 2:00 PM|
|Arkansas||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M|
|Kent State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Western Ky||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Minnesota||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|FIU||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Miami-Ohio||9/27/14 2:30 PM|
|Colorado||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Texas||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|Temple||9/27/14 3:00 PM|
|(16) Stanford||9/27/14 3:15 PM|
|TX-San Antonio||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/27/14 4:00 PM|
|Cincinnati||9/27/14 5:00 PM|
|(22) Ohio State|
|Rice||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Missouri||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|(13) So Carolina|
|Boise State||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|North Carolina||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Central Mich||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|Troy||9/27/14 6:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Memphis||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|(10) Ole Miss|
|Duke||9/27/14 6:30 PM|
|Texas State||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(8) Notre Dame||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|(7) Baylor||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|UNLV||9/27/14 7:00 PM|
|San Diego St|
|Illinois||9/27/14 8:00 PM|
|Oregon State||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||9/27/14 9:30 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Montreal||9/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/27/14 5:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/27/14 8:30 PM|