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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Josh Willingham extended his season-opening hitting streak to 14 games with a go-ahead three-run double and the Minnesota Twins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Friday night.
Willingham’s hit in the seventh off Joel Peralta puts him one away from tying Kirby Puckett’s team mark of hitting safely in 15 straight games to start the 1994 season.
The Twins also got two RBIs from Joe Mauer, who went 2 for 3 with two walks. Mauer is 31 for 70 overall at Tropicana Field.
Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce homered for the Rays. Longoria had a homer and four RBIs in Tampa Bay’s 9-4 win Thursday night at Toronto.
After Tampa Bay tied it with a run on Carlos Pena’s bases-loaded double-play grounder in the sixth, Longoria gave Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead with a two-run shot off Liam Hendriks.
Mauer had put the Twins ahead 2-0 on RBI singles in the first and fifth.
Joyce cut the Rays’ deficit to 2-1 during the fifth on his fourth homer of the season.
Hendriks gave up four runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings. Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Brandon Gomes (0-1) replaced Moore and was charged for two runs, one hit and a walk without recording an out. Twins reliever Matt Maloney (1-0) retired all three batters he faced.
Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and utility man Stephen Vogt was optioned to Triple-A Durham before the game.
Upton hurt his lower back in an outfield collision with teammate Desmond Jennings during a spring training game against Miami on March 14. He grounded out with a runner on third and two outs in the second, and finished 0 for 3.
NOTES: Minnesota 1B-DH Justin Morneau, who fouled a ball off his right foot Thursday night, was out of the lineup, but available off the bench. “Everything is fine,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s pretty sore. I didn’t see any reason to put him out there on this (artificial) surface. It’s pretty hard. I expect him to be back out there (Saturday). … Tampa Bay RHP James Shields (2-0) and Twins RHP Carl Pavano (1-1) are Saturday night’s scheduled starters.
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