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Escobar's HR lifts Rays past Twins in opener

photo credit: J. Meric/Getty Images

Yunel Escobar is congratulated at home plate after his solo home run in the top of the seventh broke a 3-3 tie.  Tampa Bay would go on to win 7-4.

by Steve Carney

The Tampa Bay Rays blew an early 2-0 lead, but got late home runs by Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist to break a 3-3 tie and send them to their fifth consecutive win, a 7-4 decision over the Minnesota Twins Monday at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay once again struck first in their half of the first inning, with Luke Scott, batting second Monday, hit a solo home run to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

The lead grew to 2-0 an inning later thanks to an RBI single by Jose Molina scoring Wil Myers, who reached on a fielder's choice and moved to third on a single by Matt Joyce.

Brian Dozier got Minnesota on the scoreboard in the third with an RBI double that plated Aaron Hicks, who had doubled to start the frame and moved to third on a groundout by Pedro Florimon.

Justin Morneau tied the game an inning later, leading off the fourth with his seventh home run of the year.  Trevor Plouffe followed with a single, moved to third on a single by Oswaldo Arcia and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Parmalee to give Minnesota the lead 3-2.

Evan longoria broght Tampa Bay back even in the fifth with an RBI single that scored Jennings.

The Rays took the lead for good in the seventh, as Escobar deposited a Samuel Deduno pitch into the seats in left to make it 4-3.  Jennings followed with a triple, and scored two batters later when Zobrist launched one to left off reliever Caleb Thielbar to make it 6-3.

Tampa Bay added another run in the eighth, as Wil Myers walked to lead off the inning, moved to third on a single by Jose Molina two batters later, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Esobar.

Jamey Wright allowed an RBI single to Florimon in the ninth, but Fernando Rodney got the final two outs for his 20th save.

Tampa Bay will try for their sixtgh straight victory Tuesday, as Chris Archer (2-3, 4.17 ERA) takes on Kyle Gibson (1-1, 7.94 ERA).  Coverage on 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM starts at 6:00 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10.

 

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