(Sports Network) – Matt Joyce’s pinch-hit grand slam put the finishing touches on Tampa Bay’s seven-run eighth inning, highlighting an 8-6 comeback win over Minnesota in the continuation of a four-game series.
The Rays, who split the first two in this set, were stymied by Francisco Liriano through seven innings before rallying against the Twins’ bullpen.
Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria and Willy Aybar each drove in a run during the game-shifting eighth. Crawford finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI in the win, which was credited to Randy Choate (1-2) for throwing a scoreless home seven.
The turnaround took Wade Davis off the hook after the starter surrendered four runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Liriano threw seven innings of one-run ball but did not factor in the decision despite striking out 10 and allowing just four hits and a walk for the Twins, who had won three of four coming in.
Minnesota’s Jim Thome went 3-for-4 with three RBI and hit a pair of home runs, the second moving him past Twins great Harmon Killebrew into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time home run list with 574.
With two homeruns in today’s game, slugger Jim Thome has now belted 10 this season with the Twins and sits alone at No. 10 on the all-time homerun list. His first homerun of the day pushed him into a tie with Twins’ Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, and his second pushed him into a spot by himself.
“Good for him. He’s a good guy. I talked to Jim quite a bit when I was in spring training. I told him, ’Don’t feel bad if you pass me up, because I passed up a lot of guys in my career.’”
“Jim is a credit to baseball, and a credit to the teams he’s played for,” Killebrew told 1500 ESPN. “I just wish we had gotten him when he went to the White Sox. We might’ve won a World Series if that had happened.”
Thome has been exactly what the Twins were hoping to get when they added him this past off-season, and now fans are seeing history along the way too.
As suspected, the Minnesota Twins placed utility infielder Matt Tolbert on the disabled list before today’s game to make room for shortstop J.J. Hardy on the active roster:
The Minnesota Twins announced today that they have returned infielder J.J. Hardy from his rehab assignment at Single-A Beloit and reinstated him from the 15-day disabled. He was placed on the disabled list on June 11 (retroactive to June 7) with a left wrist contusion and missed 20 games.
To make room for Hardy on the 25-man roster, the Twins have placed infielder Matt Tolbert on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 1) with a contusion to his right middle finger. Tolbert suffered in the injury in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game vs. the Detroit Tigers.
After missing nearly one full month, shortstop J.J. Hardy will be reinstated from the disabled list prior to this afternoon’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hardy played in three games for the Beloit Snappers, going 2-for-10. The numbers in this case are irrelevant however; Hardy’s wrist feels healthy, and he’ll finally be back in the lineup.
The team will make a corresponding roster move before today’s game to make room for Hardy. With a sore middle finger on his right hand, utility infielder Matt Tolbert could possibly head to the disabled list.
Liriano has bee consistent for the most part for Minnesota, but the hard- throwing southpaw has just two wins in his last 10 outings. The last time Liriano was on the rubber, he was pummeled by Detroit, allowing six runs on nine hits in six innings of work.
It was the third straight loss for Liriano, and it also dropped the lefty's home mark to 3-3 on the year. The beat down by the team from Motown also brought Liriano's ERA to 3.12 at Target Field.
This will be the fifth career start for him against Tampa Bay. In his four previous outings, Liriano has accumulated a 2-1 mark with an impressive 2.39 earned run average.
As for the Rays, they will turn to Wade Davis, who is looking to snap a personal five-game skid. The last time the right-hander was on the mound he held Arizona to just two runs in 7 1/3 innings. Davis, who struck out five batters in the contest, still suffered the loss due to a lack of run support.
Davis, who is a lackluster 2-3 on the road with a 5.10 earned run average, will be facing the Twins for the first time in his career.
Last night, Danny Valencia got the first hit off Tampa Bay's David Price in the fifth and singled home the go-ahead run two innings later, as the Twins rallied for a 2-1 win in the continuation of a four-game set at Target Field.
Valencia had half of Minnesota's hits against Price (11-4), who pitched eight innings for his second complete game of the season. The emerging staff ace fanned six and walked four.
Delmon Young provided a key RBI double in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run for the Twins, who got seven stellar innings from starter Scott Baker in their third win in four games.
Baker (7-7) gave up just the one run on six hits with eight strikeouts against zero walks. Jon Rauch stranded the tying run at second in the ninth to pick up his 18th save.
These two clubs have split their six-game series in each of the last two years, with the Rays losing two of three at Minnesota a season ago.