ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Miguel Sano is so strong, he hit a baseball Sunday farther than anyone ever has before in Tropicana Field’s 19-year major league history.

Straight up.

Sano’s rocket should have had Saturn V stenciled on the side, because it became the first fair ball ever to deflect off the dome’s cream-colored fabric roof in fair territory, where it’s at its highest peak. The ball made contact some 210 feet or so above Sano’s head — then came down in Evan Longoria’s glove in short left field, and impressive but inconsequential popup.

Fortunately, the Twins’ slugger wasn’t done punishing baseballs. Sano crushed a 400-footer next to a party deck in straightaway center field in the third inning, then lined a missile into the seats in left-center in the ninth, powering the Twins to their eighth win in 11 games, 6-3 over the Rays, and rendering moot any discussion of returning him to the minor leagues.

Sano even made a nice running grab and throw in the ninth, turning a Logan Forsythe ground ball into the final out of the Twins’ road trip, which they finished with an encouraging 5-2 record.

Yes, Longoria homered again, giving him seven against the Twins this season, but it wasn’t enough against an opportunistic Twins offense. Brian Dozier doubled a run home, and scored another run on a Max Kepler sacrifice fly.

Kyle Gibson earned his fourth victory of the season, though he lasted only five innings, giving up six hits and four walks, though only two runs.

The Twins open a four-game series Monday in Target Field against the Astros.

 

phil.miller@startribune.com