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Twins use four-run eighth to beat Rays

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tampa Bay again failed to hit in the clutch, and the bullpen for once couldn't hold a two-run lead late in the game.

But Rays manager Joe Maddon is certain the bitter 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday won't have an adverse effect on his team going into a crucial series against the Texas Rangers.

"Not at all," said Maddon after Josmil Pinto's three-run homer wiped out the Rays' lead in the eighth.

"Don't give it any permission to carry over, and then it doesn't. You cannot dwell on the day before, that will really hurt you."

The Twins' four-run eighth, which came after their two runs in the seventh snapped a 25-inning scoreless streak, came in a flash after Rays reliever Joel Peralta retired the first two batters he faced. Ryan Doumit started things moving for the Twins with a solo homer, and after a hit and a walk, Pinto drilled a pitch up in the zone into the Tampa Bay bullpen.

"(I) made pretty good contact, looked up and saw it go out, and was really happy for the team," said Pinto through teammate Chris Collabello, who acted as his interpreter.

Pinto explained he was so caught up in the moment that he didn't hear the crowd, and was pushed out of the dugout by his teammates for a curtain call.

"You don't want to get used to this," said Peralta, who had given up only five homers before Sunday's game. "I know they're going to give me the ball (again), so I got to forget."

Despite the loss, the Rays remain tied for the AL wild card lead with the Rangers, who lost 5-1 to Oakland on Sunday. After the four home games against the Rangers, the Rays host the Orioles four times before a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.

The Twins salvaged the final game of their season series with Tampa Bay, which had beaten Minnesota the previous six times this season and 11 times in a row overall.

Casey Fien, who got one out in the eighth while stranding three runners, picked up the win. Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save.

"Good win against a team that's in playoff contention," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We needed that, that's a boost."

Tampa Bay starter David Price, who was seeking his first win since Aug. 24, was rarely challenged through the first six innings. In the seventh, he allowed a single and two walks before giving way to reliever Jake McGee, who promptly gave up Chris Parmelee's two-run hit to cut the Rays' lead to 3-2.

The Rays increased their lead to 4-2 in the eighth on a run-scoring single by James Loney, but left the bases loaded when Fein (5-2) got David DeJesus on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Peralta (2-8) came on to retire the first two Twins batters in the bottom of the eighth before Doumit cut the lead to one with a homer to right field.

After a single by Trevor Plouffe and a walk to Josh Willingham, Pinto launched his second career homer over the left field fence for the lead.

The Rays failed to get a hit off Minnesota starter Pedro Hernandez until the fourth inning, when Ben Zobrist broke an 0-for-16 slump by beating out a slow roller to third base. Zobrist was erased on a fielder's choice, setting up Wil Myers' gigantic two-run blast to Target Field's upper deck in left-center field.

Rodriguez went nearly as deep as Myers in the fifth, hitting the ball into the Twins' bullpen for a 3-0 Rays lead.

Hernandez (3-2) allowed three runs on four hits in five innings with two strikeouts and four walks.

Price, who struck out four and walked five, was able to keep the Twins off the scoreboard with the help of the Rays' defense. They turned double plays to end the second and fifth innings, and catcher Jose Molina threw out Eduardo Escobar trying to steal in the third.

NOTES: Twins catcher Joe Mauer, still bothered by concussion symptoms, won't accompany the team on their final road trip of the season. ... The Rays have lost 11 of their last 15 games against left-handed starters. ... The only time the Twins were shut out three straight times came in 1978 on September 6 against the White Sox and September 8 and 9 against the Brewers.
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