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Rays

Twins prevent sweep by beating Rays, 3-2

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 08:51 PM
ST. PETERSBURG -

Brendan Harris homered and Justin Morneau and Carlos Gomez also drove in runs Sunday to help the Minnesota Twins avoid a weekend sweep with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Nick Blackburn (5-2) pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs and seven hits, and the Twins scored all their runs off Matt Garza (4-4) to beat their former teammate and end a three-game losing streak.

Carlos Pena hit his American League-leading 17th homer for the Rays. Matt Joyce also homered off Blackburn, however Garza - facing his former team for the first time - was unable to hold a 2-1 lead after limiting the Twins to two hits over the first five innings.

Twins reliever Jose Mijares pitched out of a jam with the tying run on third base in the eighth. Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save in 11 opportunities.

Garza was acquired in the November 2007 trade that also brought shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Rays as part of a six-player transaction that sent Harris and outfielder Delmon Young to Minnesota.

The 25-year-old right-hander was an 11-game winner last season, and beat Boston in Games 3 and 7 to claim MVP honors in the AL Championship Series. He has been Tampa Bay's most consistent pitcher this year, flirting with a no-hitter against the Red Sox on April 30, when Jacoby Ellsbury's infield single leading off the seventh inning spoiled a bid for a perfect game.

Harris and Young had the first two hits off Garza Sunday, with Harris hitting a two-out solo homer in the second and Young leading off the fourth with a single. Denard Span legged out a bunt and later scored on Morneau's RBI single that made it 2-2 in the sixth.

Gomez's bloop single, the third straight hit off Garza, snapped the tie in the seventh. Garza allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

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