ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -One more win and the
Tampa Bay Rays
The AL East leaders closed in on a playoff berth Friday night, beating the
's homer and four RBIs - with help from the first reversal produced by baseball's instant replay system.
The Rays, who had never won more than 70 games in a season before this year, retained a 1 1/2-game lead in the division over
Boston and moved within a victory of clinching at least a wild-card spot.
They can earn the first postseason berth in their 11 seasons by winning one of two remaining games in this series against
Minnesota, which fell 2 1/2 games behind the first-place
Chicago White Sox
in the AL Central.
Tampa Bay also can wrap up a spot if the
New York Yankees
lose at least once this weekend.
''It's very exciting to be in this position, and to move on to the postseason would be great. But that's just one of the goals.
It's also to win the division and to get the best record in the league,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''We want home court
advantage throughout the playoffs. I don't want anyone to be satisfied with where we're at.''
(12-11) allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings. Minnesota avoided a shutout with
's sixth-inning sacrifice fly.
Pena's drive to right field off
appeared to be touched by a fan before bouncing off the top of the fence. First base umpire Mike DiMuro signaled fan interference,
and Pena stopped at second base for a two-run double.
The umpires huddled immediately and decided to look at the video for the third test of the system since Aug. 28, when baseball
allowed umpires to begin using it to determine boundary calls.
The crowd of 28,306 broke into cheers when the umpires returned to the field after a delay of 4 minutes, 10 seconds, and crew
signaled home run, giving Pena a three-run shot that made it 9-0.
''I was glad they went and checked ... and I think they got it right,'' Pena said. ''I always thought it was a home run.''
Twins right fielder
wasn't sure what happened, but said he definitely heard the ball deflect off skin.
''The whole thing is getting it right,'' Minnesota manager
said. ''They got it right. That's all we care about.''
The first use of the replay system came at Tropicana Field on Sept. 3, when video confirmed a long home run by
against the Rays. An on-field call also was upheld on Sept. 9, when
's drive off the top of the right-field wall was confirmed as a double during a game between Houston and Pittsburgh.
Pena also drew a walk with the bases loaded in the second inning and finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
drove in three with a double in the first off
(10-10), a sacrifice fly in the second and a fielder's choice in the sixth.
Minnesota's starting pitching continues to struggle. A night after
allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning in a game the Twins rallied to win 11-8, Blackburn gave up six runs and six hits
in 1 1-3 innings.
During this stretch in which the Twins have lost five of six, only one starting pitcher has gone more than 4 2-3 innings.
In a start last Sunday in Baltimore, Blackburn yielded six runs, including four homers, in four innings.
''It's frustrating,'' Blackburn said. ''It's obviously not a good time of the season to be doing what I'm doing right now
... not giving the team a chance to win.''
Jackson, meanwhile, won for the first time since Aug. 28. He had been 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA in three September starts after
going 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in August.
The right-hander limited the Twins to singles by Mauer,
until the sixth, when
singled ahead of Mauer's sacrifice fly that made it 9-1.
''Jackson was throwing the living tar out of the ball,'' Gardenhire said. ''Normally we do OK on hitting fastballs. But he
was pumping it in there pretty good.''
Notes: Mauer is 13-for-33 during an eight-game hitting streak. ... Rays CF B.J. Upton, out since Sept. 8 with a strained left
quadriceps, ran the bases before the game and could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday. ... Perkins, who has allowed
seven homers in four September starts, will skip his scheduled turn against Chicago next week. His next start will come during
next weekend's series against Kansas City. ... LHP
were honored before the game as the Rays' minor league pitcher and player of the year, respectively. ... Pena's 31st homer
was his 17th since the All-Star break.