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American League Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Minnesota
(Friday, July 18)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 6, Minnesota 2
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Evan Longoria hit a three-run double, Ben Zobrist belted a two-run homer and the Tampa Bay Rays started the second half of the season with a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins to open a three- game series.
Alex Cobb (5-6) pitched 5 2/3 innings to earn the win, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks in Tampa Bay's third straight victory.
James Loney stroked a game-high three hits for the Rays, who have won nine of their last 10 road games
Kyle Gibson (8-8) took the loss after allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings.
Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer for the otherwise punchless Twins, who started a 10-game homestand after hosting the All-Star Game this week.
Curt Casali's first major-league hit, a leadoff single, sparked a three-run rally for Tampa Bay in the third inning. The catcher scored on Evan Longoria's two-out, three-run double.
Plouffe's two-run blast in the bottom of the inning also scored Home Run Derby participant Brian Dozier, who had singled, and pulled Minnesota within 3-2.
But the Rays won a challenge in the fifth when Kevin Kiermaier was ruled safe at first base on a bang-bang play and Zobrist followed two batters later with a blast to right to make it 5-2.
Kiermaier hit a leadoff single in the seventh and went to second on Desmond Jennings' sacrifice bunt. Gibson was replaced by Matt Guerrier, who gave up an RBI single to Matt Joyce that gave the Rays a 6-2 lead.
"He hung in there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Gibson, "but the two big innings got him."
Brad Boxberger, Grant Balfour and Jake McGee threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for Tampa Bay.
Cobb had two strikeouts ... The Twins were coming off a 5-2 road trip to end the first half ... Tampa Bay out-hit Minnesota 11-6 ... The Twins were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.
07/18 23:47:46 ET