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Twins Beat Rays 2-1, Even Series

(Sports Network) – 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.

Tampa Bay staked Price to an early lead with Evan Longoria’s ground-rule double. It was the second of consecutive two-baggers and scored Carl Crawford for a 1-0 edge.

“A lot of times that first inning can get a little jumpy. You really want to come out there and make some good pitches early to get the game rolling in your direction. A couple pitches I left up over the plate but I was able to settle down and make the adjustments,” said Baker, who got Ben Zobrist to pop out with runners on the corners to end the seventh and set up the Twins rally.

Price shook off a pair of walks in the first inning and a leadoff free pass in third to carry a no-hitter into the fifth. Valencia ended that notion with a one-out base hit, but Nick Punto quickly brought the frame to a close with a double-play ball.

The Twins went in order in the sixth, but rallied to take the lead an inning later. Jason Kubel kept the inning alive with a two-out single and Young laced a double to the gap in left center to tie the game. Valencia followed that with a base hit back up the middle to score Young for a 2-1 lead.

Brian Duensing yielded a two-out hit to Willy Aybar and gave way to Jesse Crain in the eighth. Pinch-hiiter John Jaso also singled and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Crain recovered to get Kelly Shoppach swinging to end the inning.

But the Rays threatened again in the ninth as Rauch gave up a two-out hit to Reid Brignac, who moved to second on a wild pitch. Rauch then walked Zobrist before getting Carl Crawford to ground out and end the game.

“He (Price) has pitched great for us all year and we’ve got him some runs quite a bit but tonight we weren’t able to get enough,” said Zobrist. “Baker threw a great game. He really hit his spots pretty good.”

It was also the second complete game of Price’s career. He’s now lost two of his last three starts after three consecutive winning turns. The young left has garnered a decision in all but one of his 16 starts this year…Crawford, Aybar and Sean Rodriguez each had two hits for Tampa Bay, which had won its last two games — including the opener to this series Thursday in 10 innings…The Rays were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.