ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- After having a pitchers duel Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins battled in a slugfest Wednesday, with both sides allowing big home runs early. However, it was a defensive miscue by catcher Jesus Sucre that allowed Minnesota to break a 6-6 tie and go on for a 10-6 victory over the Rays to prevent Tampa Bay from sweeping the set at Tropicana Field.
Both sides traded solo homers in the first inning, with Brian Dozier leading off the game with his 29th home run of the season for a 1-0 advantage. Evan Longoria countered in the bottom of the inning with his 18th of the season and first since hitting for the cycle on August 1, tying the game at 1-1.
Minnesota regained the lead in the top of the second with Snell allowing singles to Robbie Grossman and Chris Gimenez in front of Ehire Adrianza, whose three-run blast put Minnesota back on top 4-1.
But again, the Rays did not stay down, and in the bottom of the third Slagers' two out walks to Corey Dickerson and Longoria allowed Lucas Duda to tie the game with a three-run shot of his own.
Snell would exit two batters into the fifth after he gave up back-to-back singles to Gimenez and Adrianza, and after Sergio Romo loaded the bases with one out hitting Jorge Polanco on the foot with a slider, Eduardo Escobar's two run single broke the tie and gave the Twins a 6-4 lead.
But yet again the Rays had an answer, with Jesus Sucre singling off Slagers to end his afternoon, and Kevin Kiermaier tying the game with a blast off reliever Buddy Boshers to again even the contest.
The Twins finally took the lead for good in the seventh, as Steve Cishek walked Dozier and on Polanco's bunt attempt, threw the ball past Duda and into the home bullpen, allowing the Minnesota second baseman to score all the way from first base to break the tie. Escobar singled in Polanco two batters later for some insurance and pinch-hitter Max Kepler's fielder's choice later in the inning pushed the deficit to 9-6.
Grossman's sacrifice fly in the ninth off Brad Boxberger set the score.
The loss drops Tampa Bay back to a game under .500 at 70-71.
The Rays next head to Boston to begin a three-game weekend series with the Red Sox. Chris Archer (9-8, 3.76 ERA) will get the start in Friday's opener, taking on Drew Pomeranz (14-5, 3.36 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.