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Associated Press, Published September 15 2013

Rays stumble in playoff race with loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – This was a tough one for the Tampa Bay Rays to lose.

With reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price on the mound facing a Minnesota team hadn’t beaten them since last year, the Rays blew a three-run lead and wasted a chance to overtake Texas for the AL wild-card lead.

Not exactly what the Rays wanted heading into a four-game series with the Rangers that opens Monday.

“We’ve had way too many missteps already this year. That’s what’s got us in this position,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said after watching Joel Peralta allow eighth-inning homers to Ryan Doumit and Josmil Pinto in a 6-4 loss Sunday. “We have played well enough to have a much better record. We haven’t closed the deal.”

Tampa Bay appeared on its way to a season sweep of the Twins after Wil Myers and Sean Rodriguez homered to build a 3-0 lead. With his team up 4-2 and two outs in the eighth, Peralta threw a first-pitch strike to Doumit.

Next pitch: gone.

Then Trevor Plouffe singled, Josh Willingham walked and Pinto followed by sending an 0-1 pitch into the Rays bullpen in center field.

By the time the rookie came out of the dugout for a curtain call following his second career homer and All-Star closer Glen Perkins came in from the bullpen, the cheering crowd had completely forgotten about how futile Price had made the Twins lineup look earlier.

“This one hurts the most,” Peralta said. “We really need these games. We need every game.”

Tampa Bay, which had won its previous three games, dropped to 7-14 since Aug. 25. The Rays remained tied with Texas for the two AL wild-card spots, one game agead of Cleveland pending the Indians’ game at the Chicago White Sox.

Minnesota had lost 11 in a row to the Rays.

“You go through funks like this, and hopefully we’re done with that one and we can move forward,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Tampa Bay Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

DJnngs cf 4 0 0 0 Presley cf 4 0 0 0

Zobrist 2b 5 0 2 0 Mstrnn lf 4 0 0 0

Longori 3b 5 1 0 0 Dozier 2b 4 0 1 0

WMyrs rf 2 2 2 2 Doumit rf 3 2 1 1

DYong dh 2 0 0 0 CHrmn rf 0 0 0 0

Loney 1b 4 0 1 1 Plouffe 3b 3 1 3 0

YEscor ss 3 0 0 0 Flrmn pr-ss 0 1 0 0

SRdrgz lf 3 1 1 1 Wlngh dh 3 0 1 0

Loaton ph-c 1 0 0 0 Thms pr-dh 0 1 0 0

JMolin c 3 0 0 0 Pinto c 3 1 1 3

DeJess ph-lf 1 0 0 0 Parmel 1b 4 0 1 2

Escr ss-3b 3 0 2 0

Totals 33 4 6 4 Totals 31 6 10 6

Tampa Bay 000 210 010— 4

Minnesota 000 000 24x— 6

E—Pinto (2). DP—Tampa Bay 2. LOB—Tampa Bay 8, Minnesota 5. 2B—Dozier (31), E.Escobar (3). HR—W.Myers (12), S.Rodriguez (4), Doumit (13), Pinto (2). CS—E.Escobar (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Tampa Bay

Price 6Zc 6 2 2 3 4

McGee H,27 Xc 1 0 0 0 2

Prlta L,2-8 BS,3-4 1 3 4 4 1 2

Minnesota

P.Hernandez 5 4 3 3 4 2

Swarzak 2 0 0 0 0 2

Burton Zc 2 1 1 2 0

Duensing Zc 0 0 0 0 0

Fien W,5-2 Zc 0 0 0 0 0

Perkins S,35-39 1 0 0 0 0 1

WP—P.Hernandez.

T—3:14. A—27,988 (39,021).