ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- — Nick Gordon had a game-tying seventh-inning RBI single and a go-ahead run-scoring base-hit in the ninth as the Minnesota Twins beat the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 on Sunday.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, scheduled to leave the team during the game for the birth of his child in Minnesota, came onto the field after the top of the 8th to talk with plate umpire Jim Wolf before heading toward the clubhouse. Coach Bill Evers took over for Baldelli.
“All-in-all, good day,” Evers said. “Roc can have a nice flight home. Put a smile on his face and everybody's happy.”
Rays rookie Wander Franco extended his on-base streak to 35 with an seventh-inning double. It's the third longest by a player under 21 and one short of the AL-record held by Mickey Mantle,
“We have high expectations for ourselves and anytime we let a game like today kind of slip from us, it’s a little frustrating,” losing pitcher Andrew Kittredge said. “At the same time, we’re good for a reason, we have a lot of resiliency.”
Gordon knotted it at 5 on his hit in the seventh and put the Twins up 6-5 with a ninth-inning single off Kittredge (8-3). Josh Donaldson had a one-out double in the ninth, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Gordon's hit.
Gordon went to high school in Orlando, Florida and had a number of family and friends at the game.
“It was special,” Gordon said. “I'm glad they got to see it.”
Tyler Duffey (3-3) had a scoreless eighth before Alex Colomé worked the ninth to get his 11th save, Colome worked out of a two-on, two-jam in the ninth by getting a fly from former Twins' slugger Nelson Cruz.
Cruz had a two-out, run-scoring single in fifth before Meadows, who has 96 RBI, hit a two-run drive that put the Rays ahead 5-4.
Lowe got the Rays within 4-2 on his career-high 33rd homer in the third.
Luis Arraez drove in two with a single during a three-run second. Jack Cave got his second RBI single in the third as the Twins took a 4-0 lead.
Arraez had three hits after entering in a 2 for 29 slide.
The Rays just missed turning a triple play in the fourth.
Jorge Polanco hit a liner that Franco caught while playing up the middle and in. Byron Buxton just beat a diving tag attempt at second by the shortstop. Franco then threw to third to easily retire Arraez, who had took off for the plate
“Look, we were kind of fortunate on that one play when they had second and third, no outs but we'll take it,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
Buxton made a nifty catch at the center-field wall on Kevin Kiemaier's drive to end the fourth with two on.
COMBINATION OF THINGS?
Franco thinks his history of ear issues and a tag by Boston C Christian Vázquez Wednesday may have lead to him leaving Thursday’s game with Red Sox with a headache and not playing Friday.
“When I was young I used to have ear infections, and I think that might have been part of it, and the play at the plate I felt the headache,” Franco said through a translator.
Twins 1B Willians Astudillo caught Cruz's foul pop-up in the seventh while holding his hat in his right hand.
Twins: 1B Miguel Sanó (left shoulder) was rested. … RHP Luke Farrell (right oblique) returned from the 60-day IL.
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