Pinto's late homer leads Twins over Rays
MINNEAPOLIS — Josmil Pinto’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth erased the Tampa Bay Rays’ lead and brought the Minnesota
Twins back to a 6-4 win on Sunday.
Pinto, in just the 11th game of his big league career after being called up this month by Minnesota, hit a 1-0 pitch by Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta 418 feet into the Rays’ bullpen.
Pinto’s heroics enabled the Twins to salvage 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.
The Twins went 25 innings without scoring before Chris Parmelee’s two-run single in the seventh inning.
The Rays won the first two games of the weekend series by shutout, and fell a half-game behind Texas in the AL Wild Card race. The Rangers played the Oakland A’s on Sunday and open a four-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday.
Tampa Bay starter David Price was rarely challenged through the first six innings in picking up his first win since Aug. 24. In the seventh, he allowed a single and two walks before giving way to reliever Jake McGee, who promptly gave up 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 Ryan 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: The Rays now play 11 straight games against teams they’re in contention with for the AL’s wild card playoff game. They host Texas and Baltimore in back-to-back home four-game series before playing the Yankees three times in New York. ... 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 6th against the White Sox and September 8th and 9th against the Brewers.