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Rays 8, Twins 6: Rays outlast Twins in extra-inning marathon

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The Rays defeated the Twins 8-6 in what marked the longest game in the history of Target Field.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Minnesota Twins Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Tampa Bay Rays completed their fourth straight series win on the road with an 8-6 win over the Minnesota Twins in 15 innings on Sunday. At 6 hours, 26 minutes, the finale marked the longest game in the history of Target Field and the longest game in the major leagues this season.

Cobb Looks to Bounce Back

Taking the hill for Tampa Bay on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Target Field was Alex Cobb, the victim of Tuesday’s loss to the Angels in which he spun 7 1/3 innings after yielding back-to-back home runs to start the game. Alex entered today’s game having been one of the Rays best starters in May, holding opponents to a .200 average and needing to only last three innings to establish a career-high for any month.

Sunday afternoon wasn't Cobb’s most efficient outing, needing 102 pitches to last through five innings. Those 102 pitches did lead to six strikeouts on the day, but also three walks and six hits.

Sometimes, the starter's job has to be to mitigate situations when you give up baserunners and keep the ball in the yard and, in that regard, he did his job. While he may not have had his best stuff, it was enough to turn it over to the bullpen in a 2-2 tie.

Pouncing Early

The Rays didn’t waste any time getting to Kyle Gibson in this game. After Corey Dickerson was surrendered on a deep fly, Kevin Kiermaier laced a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line and (stop me if you’ve heard this before) beat the throw to second base. Then, after Gibson walked Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison, Steven Souza Jr. dug in, and blooped a 2-1 fastball right over Dozier’s head in shallow right-center to score KK.

1-0, good guys.

One batter later, Rasmus lined a single up the middle for his 16th RBI of the season, allowing Longo to cross the plate.

2-0, good guys.

The Rays have now scored an AL-leading 42 first-inning runs, outscoring opponents 42-25 in the opening frame this season.

Not So Fast

The Twins got to Alex Cobb a little bit in the bottom half of the first. After striking out Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco singled up the middle. Joe Mauer then stepped up and cranked another liner to left when Polanco subsequently tried to advance to third. Unfortunately, Rasmus has a hose and after replay-review, he was called out.

Silly Polanco, you should know better!

Minnesota Counters

In the bottom half of the third inning, the Twins got themselves on the scoreboard.

Jason Castro hit a single to left-centerfield and, after a strikeout by Brian Dozier and Jorge Polanco reaching on a fielder’s choice, Mauer laced a double to deep right, scoring Polanco.

Having seen enough of the Twin Cities' lineup for the inning, Cobb set Kennys Vargas down swinging to end the threat.

Whatcha doin, Souz?

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth - in what continued an eventful weekend for the right-fielder - Souza Jr. airmailed a throw to second base that allowed Rosario to take an extra base.

One batter later, Jason Castro doubled to right, scoring Rosario and cutting the Rays lead to one.

Mauer Pauer

Ryan Garton - who’s had success in Triple-A this season - came in to work in the bottom half of the seventh.

His first batter was Joe Mauer, who took him 381 feet to right-field, bringing him just a triple shy of the cycle.

It was certainly a questionable decision by Cash to bring in Garton in a one-run ballgame, especially given his recent struggles.

“Where we were at from where we were yesterday, if he’s going to be here he’s going to have to figure out a way to pitch in close games,” Cash said after the game. “There are no soft landing spots.”

Dozier, again...

Garton trotted back to the mound for the eighth, and then proceeded to walk Rosario on four pitches to lead off the inning. WALKS WILL HAUNT.

Buxton did his job, sac-bunting him over to second. Shortly after, he walked yet another batter in Jason Castro. Not exactly the greatest relief appearance for the right-hander.

Cash would then bring in right-handed flamethrower Ryan Stanek to face Brian Dozier, who hit a ground-ball, shift-allowed single through where the second baseman would usually be to give the Twins a 4-3 lead.

Polanco stepped up to the plate next, driving in Castro on a sac-fly to center.

5-3, bad guys.

We head to the ninth.

RALLY TIME

With one out in the top of the ninth and the Rays holding on for dear life, Corey Dickerson lined a single to center.

That sent Kevin Kiermaier to the plate, who struck out on five pitches.

Longoria then stepped up and blasted a double to deep left, scoring Dickerson and trimming the deficit to one.

The Twins would intentionally walk Logan Morrison to face Steven Souza Jr., who of course ties it up after being the laughingstock of the series opener, bringing the runner in from second.

Way to run old-man Longo!

The Twins couldn’t get anything going in the bottom half of the ninth, sooo...

We Head to Extras!

Nothing really eventful happened at all in the first three innings of extras.

Tommy Hunter (who worked the ninth and tenth) and Danny Farquhar (who worked the eleventh and twelfth) pitched well, combining to blank the Twins on zero hits through four innings.

Farquhar got Miguel Sano to strike out with the bases loaded to end the 11th, which was highly entertaining, considering Twins fans got all riled up about him pinch-hitting.

Farquhar joked after the game, “Bases loaded with the winning run at third base, I would consider that a medium-leverage situation.”

At this point, everyone in the stadium is exhausted.

Rays, please hit some home runs, and soon.

To the 13th!

Neither team could mount a rally in the 13th. However, the 14th is where things got pretty interesting.

With two outs, Michael Martinez walked followed by a Jesus Sucre single up the middle. Next up to the plate was Corey Dickerson, who came through big, giving the Rays a 6-5 lead on a base-hit line drive to center field, scoring Martinez.

Of course, the game didn’t want to end, and the Twins were able to squeak across a run in the bottom half of the 14th on a Robbie Grossman single to center. That would be all, however, as Colome got Rosario to fly out to center with the bases loaded and two outs.

Following the game, Kevin Cash offered words of praise for the bullpen - specifically Farquhar, Hunter, and Colome.

“The jobs that they did, providing six innings of work was really impressive. It allowed our offense some time just to figure out how to get a run or two across the board.”

BACK-TO-BACK JACKS

After a rough 14th inning from Alex Colome, the Rays decided to stop messing around.

First this:

“It was a changeup. He threw me a first-pitch fastball. At that point, we’re all just swinging at hoping that the guy makes a mistake,” Longoria said after the game. “We faced him two days ago and he’s usually around the plate so the plan was to just go up there and be aggressive against him.”

And then:

Back-to-back bombs from Longo and LoMo against Friday night’s starter, Hector Santiago!

8-6, good guys!

Oh, hey, did you know:

Erasmo Ramirez - scheduled to start tomorrow - came on to work the bottom half of the 15th. And he did it quick (thank God), sitting down Mauer (K), Vargas (4-3), and Kepler (K) in a row. It was an impressive performance from the right-hander.

Danny Farquhar was asked about “his boy” Erasmo recording his first-career save while also starting the game tomorrow.

“I heard something about him becoming a closer, starter, and middle-reliever. He’s going to do it all. He’s going to carry us to the World Series.”

The Rays win marked their largest comeback of the season.

Other Highlights

The Rays social media team continues to dominate.

Miguel Sano showed his fake black snake around the dugout, giving former Rays Triple-A and now current Twins pitching coach Neil Allen a heart attack.

Notes:

-Rays hitters recorded season-high’s in both hits (18) and strikeouts (17).

-The teams combined to leave 35 men on base.

-Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison's 15th-inning homers were the latest in team history (14th inning was previous high).

-Cash said the Rays will start Erasmo Ramirez tomorrow even after he saved today's game.

-Cash also said, as of right now, they are going to stand pat with the bullpen.

-Joe Mauer (4-for-5) drew three walks to pass Kent Hrbek for second on the Twins all-time list (840). He now trails only Harmon Killebrew (1,321).

-553 total pitches were thrown in today’s game.

-I could have driven to Fargo and back in the duration of that game.