MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — In a game featuring 17 pitchers and 553 pitches, the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins fittingly had to resort to previously scheduled starting pitchers to resolve the outcome.
Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison hit back-to-back homers off Hector Santiago in the 15th inning as Tampa Bay outlasted the Twins 8-6 on Sunday following a ninth-inning comeback by the Rays that extended the game to extra frames.
At 6 hours, 26 minutes, it was the longest game in the eight-season history of Target Field and the longest game in the major leagues this year. The longest game in Twins history lasted 6:36, a 17-inning marathon at Cleveland in 1995.
“Exhausting,” said Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. “Everybody emptied their clip today.”
Minnesota went to Santiago (4-4) in the 15th with nobody else available in the bullpen. He allowed the decisive home runs on consecutive pitches to the first two batters of the inning. Longoria has 16 home runs and 57 RBIs in 58 career games against the Twins.
But without Longoria’s timely hitting in the ninth inning, the game wouldn’t have reached extras. With the score 5-3, Longoria delivered a pivotal RBI double to keep the game alive. Souza followed with an RBI single to hand Brandon Kintzler his second blown save.
Longoria scored on Souza’s single, but the Rays had to endure a replay review on the play at the plate that would have ended the game had Longoria been ruled out.
“From watching on the Jumbotron we were pretty comfortable it was going to stand,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Erasmo Ramirez, Monday’s scheduled starter for Tampa Bay, pitched a perfect 15th for his first save.
The Rays had taken the lead in the 14th when Corey Dickerson delivered a single off Justin Haley to make it 6-5. Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman answered with an RBI single in the bottom half, but Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco both missed opportunities to win the game, striking out and flying out with a runner on third.
Despite allowing a run in the 14th, Rays closer Alex Colome (1-2) got the win.
Roughly three hours before the final pitch, Minnesota thought it had secured a victory with its second eighth-inning rally in two days. Brian Dozier broke a 3-3 tie with an RBI single, and Jorge Polanco followed with a sacrifice fly, but Kintzler couldn’t hold the lead in the ninth.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor. “There’s no question about that, and we always try to measure the ability of our club to be resilient, and we’ll find out here in the short term how we do with this one.”
Dickerson had four hits in eight at-bats. Souza got three hits and Longoria snapped a 0-for-12 slump with his ninth-inning double.
Joe Mauer got four hits for the Twins, including a home run, and drew three walks. It was the first time he reached base seven times in a game.
Both bullpens are depleted as the teams head into their next series, but for Cash and the Rays, there is only one thing to do after a marathon like that.
“You get on a flight,” said Cash, “and maybe have a beer.”
Twins: RHP Justin Haley was placed on the 10-day DL with shoulder stiffness after giving up the tying run in the 14th inning, and DH Kennys Vargas was also sent to Triple-A Rochester after going 0 for 8 with four strikeouts and eight runners left on base. The Twins will recall two pitchers in time for Monday’s game.
The Twins allowed the game’s first run for the sixth straight time at Target Field on Sunday. The team’s record is 3-3 in those games.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE. ROAD?
The Rays won their fourth consecutive road series after losing their first four of the season. Meanwhile, the Twins dropped to 3-6 in home series, while their 14-5 road record is still the best in baseball.
Rays: The team’s nine-game road trip continues at Texas on Monday, with Ramirez (3-0) facing Martin Perez of the Rangers (2-5).
Twins: The AL Central leaders will welcome Houston, which has the best record in the majors, for a three-game series as RHP Ervin Santana (7-2) takes the mound opposite Brad Peacock (2-0) of the Astros.
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