MINNEAPOLIS -- Brad Miller hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth, while Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison continued to show off their impressive power, as they both homered twice and had three RBIs each to carry the Rays to a 7-5 win over the Twins in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
After a game-tying solo homer from Minnesota's Eduardo Nunez in the eighth, the Rays loaded the bases against closer Kevin Jepsen in the ninth and scored the go-ahead run on Miller's sac fly to left. Longoria added an insurance run with a two-out RBI single. It helped Tampa Bay to the series victory, taking three out of four.
"Down in the count, it's exactly what we talked about 0-2, move the ball," said Rays manager Kevin Cash of Miller's at-bat. "He moved the ball and got on top of a very difficult pitch, 95 at his neck, gets on top of it for the sac fly. Just an outstanding at-bat."
It also marked the fourth straight game with a homer for Longoria, who hit a game-tying solo homer in the sixth before connecting on a go-ahead homer in the eighth. He became the first player in Rays history to homer in every game of a four-game series, while also setting the franchise mark for homers in a series with five. Morrison, who hit a solo shot in the second and a two-run blast in the fourth, also homered for the third straight game. Tampa Bay homered 11 times in the four-game series to set a team record.
"They've got some hot hitters over there, there's no doubt about that," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "When you make mistakes, you're going to pay. The pattern we've seen as of late is that when we score, they answer. And that makes it tough."
Byung Ho Park, Robbie Grossman and Nunez homered for the Twins, while Joe Mauer had an RBI single and Byron Buxton went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple. Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision, as Rays lefty Drew Smyly surrendered four runs in five innings, while Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey allowed four runs over 5 2/3 frames.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
LoMo keeps raking: Morrison homered to right in his first at-bat, giving him a home run in three consecutive games for the second time in his career. He celebrated in his next at-bat by going deep to left field, giving him his first multi-home run game since June 13, 2015, when he played for the Marlins in a series against the Astros. Sunday brought Morrison his fourth career multi-home run game. More >
Buxton stays hot: Since getting called up from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, Buxton has been on a tear, getting a hit in all six of his games and hitting .435 (10-for-23). His 3-for-4 day was his second-career three-hit game.
"I felt pretty good today," Buxton said. "I remembered last year, I struggled against [Smyly], and was pulling off the ball. So I tried to keep my head down, stay through the ball and drive it." More >
Longoria extends HR streak: Longoria homered to right in the sixth, extending his home run streak to four games. In doing so, he became the first player in club history to homer in each game of a four-game series. Longoria added a second home run in the eighth that put the Rays up, 5-4. Carlos Pena holds the club record by homering in six consecutive games. Edwin Encarnacion was the last opposing player to hit a home run in each game of a four-game series against the Twins. The Toronto slugger did so from Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2010. And, like Longoria, he hit five in the four-game series. More >
Park, Grossman go back-to-back: Park connected on his team-leading 10th homer of the year and his first since May 13 with a solo shot to lead off the third. Grossman followed with a solo blast of his own for his third homer of the year. It was the fourth time this season the Twins hit consecutive homers, and the first time since May 29 against the Mariners.
"It was nice," Molitor said. "We were able to put together some good at-bats and hit the two home runs to forge ahead a little bit there. But once again, they came right back and answered."
"I know where I need to get to. Stuff-wise, the velocity is coming. I feel great as far as stuff. Now it's about putting it together. I'm going to keep going out there and keep battling. What else are you going to do?" -- Jepsen, who suffered his fifth loss and saw his ERA rise to 6.26
"What a win, that was awesome. A lot of moves, a lot of hitting, a lot of pitching on both sides. Glad that we came out on top."-- Cash, on Sunday's win
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Miller has nine errors on the season, and seven have come in his last 16 games. Miller made 14 last season while playing shortstop in 89 games for the Mariners.
Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton was ejected in the second inning after Steven Souza Jr. took a called third strike for the second out of the inning. Steve Pearce was thrown out trying to steal second base on the backend of the play. Shelton had an issue with home-plate umpire Will Little's strike call. The ejection was Shelton's first of the season and the second of his career.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Chris Archer (3-7, 4.75) makes his 13th start of the season as the Rays travel to Phoenix to begin a three-game series on Monday against the D-backs at 9:40 p.m. ET at Chase Field. Archer has gone 2-4 with a 7.13 ERA in seven road starts this season.
Twins: Lefty Pat Dean (1-2, 4.15 ERA) is set to start for the Twins in the series opener against the Marlins on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. CT after Monday's off-day. Dean, making his fourth career start, struggled last time out, allowing four runs in five innings against the A's on Wednesday.