MINNEAPOLIS -- After trading punches all afternoon, the Rays outlasted the Twins, 8-6, in 15 innings on Sunday. The series finale marked the longest game in the history of Target Field, in terms of time. At 6 hours, 26 minutes, it was also the longest in the Major Leagues this
MINNEAPOLIS -- After trading punches all afternoon, the Rays outlasted the Twins, 8-6, in 15 innings on Sunday. The series finale marked the longest game in the history of Target Field, in terms of time. At 6 hours, 26 minutes, it was also the longest in the Major Leagues this season.
Minnesota left-hander Hector Santiago, who started and lost the series opener on Friday, served up consecutive solo home runs to open the final frame. Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison went the distance to break the deadlock. The Rays have now hit an American League-leading 74 homers on the year. The teams traded runs in the 13th inning.
"We're all kind of just swinging at that point, hoping that the guy makes a mistake," Longoria said. "He's usually around the plate, so the plan was just to go up there and be aggressive."
Tampa Bay was able to force extra innings by plating two runs on three hits against closer Brandon Kintzler. Longoria roped an RBI double to left to score Corey Dickerson. Longoria, who was then driven in by Steven Souza Jr., evened the score at 5 on a close play at the plate. Dickerson drove in a go-ahead run in the top of the 14th, only to have the Twins match his effort in the bottom of the same frame on a single from Robbie Grossman.
"Exhausting," Souza said after the marathon. "Everyone emptied their clip today. It took 18 of our 25 guys to win."
Before all of the free baseball, the Twins appeared poised for their second consecutive come-from-behind victory. After a go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth on Saturday, James Dozier gave his team its first lead in the same inning in the series finale with an RBI single to center.
"A lot of guys stepped up and did more than you would expect in a normal situation," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "It's a tough loss; there is no question about that. We always try to measure our ability, as a club, to be resilient. We will find out in the short term how we do with this one."
Joe Mauer set the stage for Dozier with a game-tying solo shot in the seventh frame, which came off righty Ryan Garton. According to Statcast™, the ball traveled an estimated 381 ft with an exit velocity of 106.5 mph. It was the second-hardest hit that Mauer, who finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a trio of walks, has recorded this season.
Neither starter factored into the decision for the second consecutive game. Tampa Bay righty Alex Cobb tossed five innings of one-run ball, scattering six hits. Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson lasted 5 1/3 frames, and allowed three runs (two earned) off five hits.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bases juiced: The Twins left the bases loaded on two different occasions. In the sixth, Cobb got out of the inning unscathed by fanning Kennys Vargas and Max Kepler with his knuckle curve. After a pair of intentional walks, Miguel Sano swung through Danny Farquhar's heater to end a pinch-hit at-bat during the 11th inning. Minnesota went 7-for-34 with runners in scoring position this weekend.
Caught in the act: The Twins tried to plate the tying run in the fourth inning, but a heads-up play by Rays shortstop Timothy Beckham kept Minnesota off the board. With runners at the corners and two outs, Byron Buxton broke for second base. Jesus Sucre's throw was not in time to nab Buxton, and the throw brought Beckham to his knees to field it. Eddie Rosario hesitated, then broke for home when he saw Beckham hit the ground, but Beckham sprung to his feet and fired back to Sucre in time to nail Rosario. It marked the first time a Minnesota player tried to steal home since Tori Hunter's unsuccessful attempt on April 22, 2015.
"A lot of things happened in that game, a lot of close plays," Molitor said. "They didn't go our way. We just couldn't get a break that way, but we kept playing."
• Kiermaier, outfield crucial to Rays' win
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Mauer reached base a career-best seven times in the loss to the Rays. He is only the second Twins player to reach base seven-plus times in a game, joining Rod Carew, who did it eight times on May 12, 1972, vs. Milwaukee.
• In Erasmo Ramirez's last outing -- Wednesday vs. the Angels -- he started and earned the victory, while Colome got the save. On Sunday, Colome was credited with the win and Ramirez nailed down the save.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
• Tampa Bay challenged a play at third base in the bottom of the first inning. Polanco was initially ruled safe advancing from first on a single into left by Mauer. However, after a review that lasted 1 minute, 20 seconds, the call was overturned, and it was ruled Longoria placed the tag in time.
• The Twins were hoping to add a third run in the eighth inning when Dozier tried to score from first on Mauer's two-out single to right-center. Souza's throw reached home on the fly but pulled Sucre to the first-base side of the plate. Dozier slid head-first while Sucre dived to tag him. Plate umpire James Hoye called the runner out, and after a review the call stood.
• Tampa Bay evened the score in the ninth on a close play at the plate. Longoria scored from second on a single to right by Souza. Longoria was able to avoid Jason Castro's tag to slide in safely. Minnesota challenged the play, but the call stood after a replay review of 2 minutes, 24 seconds.
Rays: Tampa Bay's nine-game road trip continues with a three-game series in Texas starting Monday at 8:05 p.m. ET. Rays manager Kevin Cash said he planned for Ramirez to start Monday's game against the Rangers even though he threw 12 pitches in the 15th inning on Sunday.
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana will start the series opener against Houston at 1:10 p.m. CDT on Monday. Santana notched his Major League-leading second shutout in his previous start, against the Orioles. He is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA in four career starts against the Astros.
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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.
Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Rays on Sunday.