ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist homered during a three-run seventh inning and the surging Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 7-4 on Monday night.
Escobar had a leadoff tiebreaking homer in the seventh off Samuel Deduno (4-4), who departed after Desmond Jennings followed with a triple. Caleb Thielbar entered and got one out before Zobrist gave Tampa Bay a 6-3 lead with a two-run shot.
Alex Torres (3-0) pitched a perfect seventh for the Rays, who have won nine of 10 and moved to a season-best 10-games (50-40) over .500. Escobar also had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Fernando Rodney got the final two outs to pick up his 20th save after an RBI single by Pedro Florimon off Jamey Wright.
Justin Morneau homered for the Twins, who have lost eight of nine. Deduno gave up five runs and 10 hits over six-plus innings. Thielbar had not allowed a run in his first 17 appearances during his rookie season before Zobrist's homer.
After Brian Dozier hit a third-inning RBI double, the Twins took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Morneau had a solo homer and Chris Parmelee added a sacrifice fly off Roberto Hernandez.
Minnesota went 4 for 4 with the sac fly during the fourth, but had Oswaldo Arcia thrown out trying to advance to second after hitting a single and Aaron Hicks picked off at first by Rays catcher Jose Molina.
Morneau tied Bob Allison for fourth place on the Twins' career list with 211 homers.
Minnesota loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but failed to score when Trevor Plouffe flew out. The Twins went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position through six innings.
Hernandez allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out three, walked three and hit a batter.