Rays hang on for 5-3 win, three-game sweep
MINNEAPOLIS - The Rays hung on - barely - to complete a three-game sweep of the Twins on Sunday with a 5-3 win that included third baseman Evan Longoria reaching two milestones on one swing.
Longoria broke Carl Crawford's franchise record with his 216th double, and as Matt Joyce scored on the sixth inning shot down the leftfield line, Longoria also tied Crawford's franchise record of 592 RBIs.
The win was the Rays' fifth straight, 14th in their last 18 games and 23rd in 34 as they improved to 47-53. They started the day seven games behind the Mariners for the second American League wild-card and 8 1/2 behind the AL East-leading Orioles.
Chris Archer worked 6 1/3 innings for the win, with Brad Boxberger finishing the seventh and Jake McGee the eighth. But things got interesting in the ninth when Grant Balfour got the first out but then walked the next two. With Joel Peralta apparently unavailable, the Rays turned to rookie Kirty Yates, and he came through with his first major-league save.
Yates got Brian Dozier to ground out for the second out, then Eduardo Nunez to pop out to end it.
The Rays struck out to an early lead for the third straight game, scoring two in the first.
Desmond Jennings got them started right away, doubling on the second pitch from Kevin Correia, and walks to Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce loaded the bases. After Evan Longoria flied to shallow right, James Loney laced a single that scored two.
That turned out to be all they got, which wasn't much considering the inning included two hits, two walks, a Twins error and a balk.
The Rays scored single runs in the next two frames. Kevin Kiermaier singled to open the second, went to third on Jennings' single and scored on Zobrist's sac fly. Longoria opened the third with a double - which tied Crawford's record - then moved around on a single by Loney and a double by Yunel Escobar.
The Rays added another run in the sixth that proved to be a milestone moment. After Matt Joyce doubled with two outs, Longoria laced an 0-2 pitch down the leftfield line, breaking the doubles record with his 216th and tying the RBIs mark at 592.
Archer worked into the seventh for the Rays, allowing three runs but only one earned on six hits, striking out four and walking two in throwing 99 pitches.
Archer allowed an unearned run in the second after his own throwing error on a routine comebacker, but otherwise dodged trouble to get to the sixth with a 5-1 lead.
But then it caught up to him. Singles by Trevor Plouffe and Kendrys Morales, plus another error of overaggressiveness by rookie rightfielder Kevin Kiermaier, put Twins on second and third. After a strikeout, Archer bounced a 1-2 pitch that got away from rookie catcher Curt Casali to score one runs, then a groundout by Josh Willingham brought home the other.
The Rays left after the game for St. Louis, where they open a two-game series on Tuesday.