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Zobrist's hit lifts Rays past Twins in 13th

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ben Zobrist was glad the Tampa Bay Rays won Wednesday, but he was also just glad it was over with the series finale 12 hours away. That he was the one to end it seemed third on his list of priorities.

"I was fortunate he left me a little bit of a slider up," Zobrist said after his two-out single in the bottom of the 13th inning powered the Rays to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field.

Zobrist, who has four RBIs in his past four games, was hitless in four at-bats Wednesday before facing Ryan Pressly (2-1) with Yunel Escobar on second and Luke Scott on first. In a game in which Rays hitters struck out 16 times and Twins hitters fanned 16 times over four hours and 47 minutes, Zobrist made contact, hitting with a soft liner to right-center.

There was no play at home.

"I don't know if I feel like I am on a tear," he said. "I had some timely hits."

The walk-off win was the sixth of the year for the Rays and was the fourth of Zobrist's career.

"It was up," Pressly said. "It was definitely not where I wanted to throw that pitch. You've just got to tip your hat to him. He hit a hanging breaking ball, so there's not really anything I can do about it except make a better pitch."

Escobar opened the winning rally with a one-out single, and he went to second on an errant pick-off attempt. Scott walked before Zobrist's decisive at-bat.

Tampa Bay (52-40) extended the major leagues' longest active winning streak to seven games. Minnesota (37-51) lost its fourth straight.

Both teams were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The Rays stranded 15 runners, the Twins nine.

"We missed so many opportunities to drive in a run, as they did," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's the way those games normally go.

"We were just swinging. We chased a lot of pitches. They figured it out pretty quick that we were swinging at two strikes in the dirt. We chased I don't even know how many balls in the dirt. A ton. Guys are trying to do too much. Stay within yourself. We're swinging like mad men."

The Twins had two runners aboard to start the ninth, but Rays reliever Fernando Rodney escaped the jam.

In the 10th inning, the Rays' Wil Myers singled with two outs to bring up Kelly Johnson. Johnson smoked the ball to center field, where Aaron Hicks made the catch as he plastered himself against the wall.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Escobar's sacrifice fly.

The Twins' Pedro Florimon belted his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third, to give the Twins a 2-1 lead. Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson had allowed just two home runs in his previous seven starts.

Minnesota took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning on Clete Thomas' bloop single to left. Hicks, who led off with a single, scored on the play.

Johnson's two-run homer -- his 13th of the season -- tied the score at 3-3 in the sixth.

Cesar Ramos (2-2) earned the win for the Rays.

Twins starter Kevin Correia was charged with three earned runs on five hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

Hellickson lasted six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight.

NOTES: The Twins' 19 whiffs tied a franchise worst. ... Wednesday was only the ninth time since 1916 that a team struck out 19 times and walked just once. ... The Rays bullpen had a major-league-worst 4.96 ERA through the first 49 games of the season, but with seven scoreless innings Wednesday, the team's relief ERA is 2.31 over the ensuing 43 games. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb will throw his third bullpen session Thursday. He has not pitched in a game since being struck in the head by a line drive hit in mid-June. ... RHP Michael Tonkin, who will be called up during LHP Caleb Thielbar's stint on the bereavement list, is slated to be added to the active roster from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday. ... Jennings extended his consecutive stolen-base streak to seven.
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