Lamb's tiebreaking sacrifice fly lifts Twins over Rays

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Carl Crawford decided to go for the out, figuring Tampa Bay still had enough time to make up the deficit.

He was wrong.

Mike Lamb hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning that Crawford caught in foul territory and the Minnesota Twins beat the Rays 6-5 Wednesday night.

"I still figured it was just one run. Hopefully we could come back and get two runs," Crawford said. "We're trying to win the game. It don't matter what happens, you got to win the game. You got to do whatever it takes. I wasn't really worried about the run too much, but I understood what I did, but by then it was too late."

Delmon Young, a former Rays standout who came to the Twins in an offseason trade, led off the eighth with a single and reached third on Brendan Harris' one-out bloop single.

Lamb's flyball was slicing toward foul ground and left fielder Crawford slid and caught it about four feet in foul territory, allowing Young to score easily.

"I didn't even know it was foul or anything, I was just trying to score," Young said. "It's tough with the Dome to look up and see the ball and then see where the line is."

Minnesota dealt Jason Bartlett and pitcher Matt Garza to the Rays in the offseason for Young and Harris. Lamb was signed as a free agent to bolster the offensive output at third base.

The three new guys teamed up to scratch out the winning run in the eighth.

"Which new guys? We have plenty of them," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They're all gamers. They come in and play hard. There's no question about that."

Juan Rincon (1-0) recorded the last two outs of the eighth and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances, striking out Crawford to end the game.

Dan Wheeler (0-2) allowed one run and three hits in 1 2/3 innings to get the loss.

Errors cost both teams in the middle innings.

Minnesota took a 5-3 lead in the fifth when Bartlett's throwing error allowed two runs to score. Bartlett fielded a two-hopper off the bat of Young, but his throw skipped past Carlos Pena and allowed Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel to score.

Harris helped his former team the next inning.

A one-out Eric Hinske grounder went through Harris' legs and into right field. Livan Hernandez struck out the next hitter before Shawn Riggans tied it with a two-run homer to left-center.

"Both teams gave it back to the other team all night," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We made some mistakes. I talked about that with our group recently. I love the way we do fight, we did, we came back again. We've played a lot of close games, but we continue to let them get away."

Crawford and Hinske also homered against Hernandez, who allowed three earned runs and eight hits in six innings. Hernandez, who didn't allow a home run in his first three starts, failed to pitch into the seventh inning for the first time this season.

James Shields allowed three earned runs and eight hits in five innings for Tampa Bay.

Minnesota's bullpen snapped out of a mini-funk to help the Twins end a three-game skid.

Twins relievers blew two late-inning leads in two losses at Detroit to start the week, but Dennys Reyes, Rincon and Nathan combined to shut out the Rays over the last three innings and get the group back on track.

"Our bullpen has been here for the last five years or so," Rincon said. "That was only one series. We're not worried about what happened in Detroit."

Game notes
The Rays placed reliever Al Reyes on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder impingement and activated Kurt Birkins. Reyes was shocked with a stun gun and arrested last Friday after police say he fell against a ceramic pot in a bar, got up and picked a fight with a man he thought pushed him. He apologized for the incident, which occurred while celebrating his 38th birthday. Birkins has been out since March 21 with an elbow injury. ... Twins C Joe Mauer threw out two Rays trying to steal second.