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Longoria, Zobrist Key 6-2 Victory

 

Evan Longoria cleared the bases with a big double to start the scoring, and Ben Zobrist added a two-run homer as the Rays took down Minnesota 6-2 on Friday night.

Alex Cobb couldn't get out of the sixth inning but got the win, with some help from Brad Boxberger who escaped a bases-loaded situation in the sixth. Jake McGee struck out the side in the ninth to finish off the Twins.

Late Friday Oakland's Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth as the A's beat Baltimore 5-4, moving the Rays within 8.5 games of the AL East lead.

Longoria's hit came with two outs in the third inning. Cobb allowed a two-run homer to Trevor Plouffe in the third but Zobrist restored the lead to 5-2 with his shot in the fifth.

Matt Joyce added an RBI single in the seventh.

David Price is on the hill Saturday for the Rays, who are now eight games under .500.

Just called up from the minors, Curt Casali got a hit in his first major-league at-bat for the Rays, leading off the third. Desmond Jennings hit a ball right to Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson that could have been turned into a double play but instead ricocheted off Gibson for an infield single. Zobrist walked to load the bases with one out.

Matt Joyce popped out but then Longoria came through, inside-outing the ball deep to right and off the top of the wall.

Cobb ran out of gas, and after a spirited conversation in the sixth between Rays manager Joe Maddon and hitting coach Jim Hickey over whether to let Cobb try and get the last out of the sixth he was pulled. Cobb had just issued his second walk. Brad Boxberger walked former Ray Sam Fuld, after getting ahead 0-2, to load the bases but got a groundout from Danny Santana.

"That was the turning point of the game. That was a tipping-point moment," said Rays manager Joe Maddon.

In his 5 2/3 innings Cobb struck out two and surrendered five hits. Boxberger struck out the side in the seventh and Grant Balfour provided a very welcome 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

James Loney went 3-for-4 and Jennings twice laid down a sac bunt after Kevin Kiermaier reached base; the second occasion set up the final Tampa Bay run. Jennings leads the American League with seven sac bunts.

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