Rays' Pena shines, receives MLB's first replay reversal in rout of Twins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- One more win and the Tampa Bay Rays are in.

The AL East leaders closed in on a playoff berth Friday night, beating the Minnesota Twins 11-1 behind Carlos Pena's homer and four RBIs -- with help from the first reversal produced by baseball's instant replay system.

The Rays, who had never won more than 70 games in a season before this year, retained a 1 1/2-game lead in the division over Boston and moved within a victory of clinching at least a wild-card spot.

They can earn the first postseason berth in their 11 seasons by winning one of two remaining games in this series against Minnesota, which fell 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

Tampa Bay also can wrap up a spot if the White Sox and New York Yankees lose at least once this weekend.

"It's very exciting to be in this position, and to move on to the postseason would be great. But that's just one of the goals. It's also to win the division and to get the best record in the league," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We want home court advantage throughout the playoffs. I don't want anyone to be satisfied with where we're at."

Edwin Jackson (12-11) allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. Minnesota avoided a shutout with Joe Mauer's sixth-inning sacrifice fly.

Pena's drive to right field off Boof Bonser appeared to be touched by a fan before bouncing off the top of the fence. First base umpire Mike DiMuro signaled fan interference, and Pena stopped at second base for a two-run double.

The umpires huddled immediately and decided to look at the video for the third test of the system since Aug. 28, when baseball allowed umpires to begin using it to determine boundary calls.

The crowd of 28,306 broke into cheers when the umpires returned to the field after a delay of 4 minutes, 10 seconds, and crew chief Gerry Davis signaled home run, giving Pena a three-run shot that made it 9-0.

"I was glad they went and checked ... and I think they got it right," Pena said. "I always thought it was a home run."

Twins right fielder Denard Span wasn't sure what happened, but said he definitely heard the ball deflect off skin.

"The whole thing is getting it right," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They got it right. That's all we care about."

The first use of the replay system came at Tropicana Field on Sept. 3, when video confirmed a long home run by Alex Rodriguez against the Rays. An on-field call also was upheld on Sept. 9, when Hunter Pence's drive off the top of the right-field wall was confirmed as a double during a game between Houston and Pittsburgh.

Pena also drew a walk with the bases loaded in the second inning and finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Evan Longoria drove in three with a double in the first off Nick Blackburn (10-10), a sacrifice fly in the second and a fielder's choice in the sixth.

Minnesota's starting pitching continues to struggle. A night after Glen Perkins allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning in a game the Twins rallied to win 11-8, Blackburn gave up six runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings.

During this stretch in which the Twins have lost five of six, only one starting pitcher has gone more than 4 2/3 innings. In a start last Sunday in Baltimore, Blackburn yielded six runs, including four homers, in four innings.

"It's frustrating," Blackburn said. "It's obviously not a good time of the season to be doing what I'm doing right now ... not giving the team a chance to win."

Jackson, meanwhile, won for the first time since Aug. 28. He had been 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA in three September starts after going 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in August.

The right-hander limited the Twins to singles by Mauer, Justin Morneau and Delmon Young until the sixth, when Denard Span and Alexi Casilla singled ahead of Mauer's sacrifice fly that made it 9-1.

"Jackson was throwing the living tar out of the ball," Gardenhire said. "Normally we do OK on hitting fastballs. But he was pumping it in there pretty good."

Game notes
Mauer is 13-for-33 during an eight-game hitting streak. ... Rays CF B.J. Upton, out since Sept. 8 with a strained left quadriceps, ran the bases before the game and could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday. ... Perkins, who has allowed seven homers in four September starts, will skip his scheduled turn against Chicago next week. His next start will come during next weekend's series against Kansas City. ... LHP David Price and OF Fernando Perez were honored before the game as the Rays' minor league pitcher and player of the year, respectively. ... Pena's 31st homer was his 17th since the All-Star break.