ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.(AP)
made a highlight-reel defensive play, and reliever
made a difficult catch before falling face-first on the mound.
needed all of that - and more - to get a rare road victory Sunday, with
also prividing timely hitting to beat the
Tampa Bay Rays
3-2 on Sunday.
''A much-needed win for our baseball team,'' manager
said after the Twins avoided a weekend sweep and improved to just 6-16 away from the Metrodome. ''A few good things happened
Blackburn (5-2) pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs and seven hits, and the Twins scored all their runs off
(4-4) to beat their former teammate and end a three-game losing streak.
Span, who began the game in left field, climbed the wall in right to rob Tampa Bay's
of an extra-base hit with the Rays threatening to break the game open after taking a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
Mijares helped the Twins through a jam in the eighth by keeping track of
's pop fly that deflected off one of the catwalks supporting the roof at Tropicana Field before the portly six-foot, 231-pound
pitcher caught the ball and wound up on his stomach.
''The way things have been going for us on the road, it might have been fitting if that ball hit right on the rubber and bounced
back somewhere,'' Gardenhire mused. ''But Mijares, the athletic ability that he has, made a super play.''
Pena hit his AL-leading 17th homer for the Rays.
also homered off Blackburn, however Garza - facing his former team for the first time - was unable to hold a 2-1 lead after
limiting the Twins to two hits over the first five innings.
Mijares escaped the eighth with the tying run on third base when pinch hitter
worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save, ensuring Blackburn would improve to 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA over the starter's last
''Our bullpen was phenomenal,'' Gardenhire said. ''They came in and got some huge outs.''
Garza was acquired in the November 2007 trade that also brought shortstop
to the Rays as part of a six-player transaction that sent Harris and outfielder
The 25-year-old right-hander was an 11-game winner last season, and beat Boston in Games 3 and 7 to claim MVP honors in the
AL Championship Series. He has been Tampa Bay's most consistent pitcher this year, flirting with a no-hitter against the
on April 30, when
's infield single leading off the seventh inning spoiled a bid for a perfect game.
Harris and Young had the first two hits off Garza Sunday, with Harris hitting a two-out solo homer in the second and Young
leading off the fourth with a single. Span legged out a bunt and later scored on Morneau's RBI single that made it 2-2 in
Gomez's bloop single, the third straight hit off Garza, snapped the tie in the seventh. Garza allowed three runs and seven
hits in seven innings.
''I set out to do my job and wasn't able to squeak through it. ... It's one of those losses you just have to choke down,''
said Garza, who felt he pitched well.
''He had great stuff. They just got a couple of knocks and they eeked out their three runs,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
''We hit the ball really well, but without any luck. That's how this game works sometimes.''
Notes: Twins C
, who fouled a ball off his right leg just above the ankle and was also hit by a couple foul tips Saturday, was out of the
starting lineup. He was available off the bench. ... Tampa Bay leadoff hitter B.J. Upton, hitting .200 with two homers and
nine RBIs in 44 games, was rested but entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth. 2B
replaced Upton at the top of the lineup... Minnesota 3B
(bruised left knee) didn't play. ... Maddon has talked with injured closer
(right shoulder). Maddon said the right-hander plans to rehab his shoulder, but added that retirement remains a possibility.
... Twins RF
left the game in the second inning with right index finger strain. He is day to day.