Josh Lueke tagged with loss as Rays fall to Twins in 12 innings
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Given an opportunity by the Twins, Chris Colabello is showing his gratitude by driving in runs at a record-setting pace.
Colabello’s four RBIs carried Minnesota to a 12-inning, 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night as the Twins’ 30-year-old designated hitter torrid streak.
After homering for the second straight night and driving in the winning runs with a 12th-inning single, Colabello has a league-leading 26 RBIs, tying the franchise record for games before the end of April set by Kirby Puckett in 1994. The Twins have six games left this month.
"RBIs are a product of opportunity, and I’m thankful to this coaching staff for believing in me enough to put me in the middle of this order, and to the guys in front of me for getting on base," said Colabello, who’s also set a club record for RBIs in the first 20 games, passing Mickey Vernon (1955) and Brant Alyea (1970). "My job is to knock them in, and it just so happens this month there’s quite a few of them."
Colabello’s game-winning hit came off Josh Lueke (0-1) after hits by Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe.
Casey Fien (1-0) got the win and Glen Perkins pitched the 12th inning for his fourth save.
Colabello drove in Minnesota’s first two runs with a fourth-inning home run off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, his third homer of the season.
"It’s quite an honor when you start getting mixed in with names like that," Colabello said. "You start to realize how special this game is, how special the opportunity to be here is. It’s certainly something I’ll remember for a long time."
Colabello drove in 17 runs in 55 games for the Twins last season, his first in the major leagues.
"That’s a pretty special thing for a guy who, as he put it, played in beer leagues a couple years ago," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "He’s made some adjustments and we’ll see how long he can keep it going, but he’s putting a lot of great swings out there, driving the baseball."
Matt Joyce drove in the Rays’ first two runs with a ground ball in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third off Twins starter Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey gave up six hits, three walks and three earned runs in five innings.
Odorizzi pitched 3 1-3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and striking out five, all consecutively. He gave up hits or walks to five straight Twins in the fourth, and left after Eduardo Escobar’s sacrifice fly gave the Twins a 3-2 lead.
Sam Fuld, playing in his first game with the Twins, had two hits, including a single to right that put Minnesota up 4-2 in the fourth.
Anthony Swarzak and Fien each pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings of relief for the Twins.
NOTES: Fuld, who played the last three seasons with the Rays, got a warm ovation when he came up to bat in the third inning. … Twins RHP Matt Guerrier, coming back from right elbow surgery, has been promoted to Triple-A Rochester from Double-A New Britain. … Minnesota OF Oswaldo Arcia, on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right wrist, could start a minor league rehab assignment next week. … Minnesota RHP Ricky Nolasco (1-2) and Tampa Bay LHP Erik Bedard (0-0) are Thursday’s scheduled starters.