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Marathon Goes Rays Way To Beat Twins

The Tampa bay Rays rallied from a two-run deficit when down to their final out in regulation, but needed back-to-back homers from Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison in the 15th inning to finally put away the Minnesota Twins 8-6 Sunday at Target Field.

The Rays trailed 5-3 going into the ninth inning, but started to rally as Corey Dickerson singled off Brandon Kintzler with one out, and after Kevin Kiermaier struck out, Evan Longoria, who was hitless in the series, doubled into the left field corner to cut the deficit to 5-4, and after Logan Morrison was intentionally walked, Steven Souza Jr. singled in Longoria to tie the game.

Justin Haley, who was working a second inning of relief, allowed a two-out walk to Michael Martinez in the 14th, who had been 0-for-6 on the afternoon.  Jesus Sucre followed with a base hit to move the second baseman into scoring position, and Dickerson followed with a single that plated Martinez as Byron Buxton's throw from centerfield hit the mound.

But Alex Colome, who was working a second inning of his own, could not hold that lead, as a fielding error by Kiermaier allowed Max Kepler to reach.  Miguel Sano, who did not play Saturday and did not start Sunday as he had struck out in each of his six plate appearances, singled to left to move Kepler up a base, and after Eddie Rosario bunted both runners up, pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman singled in Kepler to re-tie the game.  

But Colome (1-2) would buck up and strike out Jason Castro and after an intentional walk to Brian Dozier, induce a fly ball from Jorge Polanco to keep the game tied.

Hector Santiago, who started and lost Friday's opener for the Twins, was called on to work the top of the 15th, and allowed both Longoria's seventh home run of the season, followed by Morrison's team-leading 14th big fly of the year.  Erasmo Ramirez worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 15th to earn the save, his first of the year.

Tampa Bay originally took the lead in the top of the first inning, as Kevin Kiermaier doubled off Twins starter Kyle Gibson and Longoria and Morrison each drew a walk to load the bases.  Steven Souza Jr. popped into a fielder's choice that allowed Kiermaier to score and make it 1-0, and Colby Rasmus singled in Longoria to extend the lead to 2-0.

Joe Mauer had a big Sunday for Minnesota, reaching base in seven of eight plate appearances, including an RBI double in the third that cut the Rays lead back to 2-1.

The Rays again established a two-run lead in the fifth, as Dickerson singled with two out, moving to third on a double by Kiermaier and scoring when Kepler could field the ball cleanly.

An RBI double by Jason Castro off Chase Whitley in the home sixth cut the lead back to a single run, and Mauer's solo blast an inning later off Ryan Garton tied the game.

Minnesota took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, as Garton put Rosario on with a leadoff walk and Castro with a one-out free pass before giving way to Ryne Stanek, who gave up an RBI single to Dozier to break the tie and a sacrifice fly by Polanco to make it a two-run deficit.

The win gets the Rays back over .500 on the year at 27-26.

Tampa Bay now heads to Arlington to begin a series with the Texas Rangers, and after pitching the final inning today, Ramirez (3-0, 3.00 ERA) will still get the start against Martin Perez (2-5, 3.77 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 8:05, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 7:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.

Photo: Getty Images

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