MINNEAPOLIS – Matthew LeCroy homered and Joe Mays pitched seven strong innings to lead the Minnesota Twins over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2 on Sunday.

Mike Redmond drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning for Minnesota, which has won six of its last seven games. The Twins are 6-0 against the Devil Rays this season and have won the last eight meetings.

Carl Crawford had three hits and Travis Lee homered for the Devil Rays, who have lost five straight and eight of nine. The Rays fell to 8-32 on the road – 4-2 at Yankee Stadium and 4-30 everywhere else.

Mays (5-3) allowed seven hits and two runs, walked two and struck out three. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 10th straight save and 23rd in 25 chances.

Rookie Scott Kazmir (3-6) gave up just four hits and three runs two earned – while striking out six and walking – two. After walking the leadoff hitter, Kazmir retired 13 straight before allowing a hit.

LeCroy broke up the no-hit bid with one out in the fifth inning, when he hit a 419-foot homer to center to bring Minnesota within 2-1. It was LeCroy’s eighth homer.

The Twins tied it at 2 in the sixth with a squeeze play.

Luis Rodriguez led off with a double and went to third with one out on Kazmir’s errant pickoff attempt. On the next pitch, Juan Castro laid down a perfect bunt with Rodriguez already racing home to score the unearned run.

Torii Hunter led off the seventh with a double off Kazmir and scored two outs later on Redmond’s single to center to make it 3-2.

Tampa Bay scored the game’s first run in the third when left fielder Lew Ford misplayed Aubrey Huff’s popup into an RBI single.

Crawford led off with his eighth triple of the year, and one-out later Huff lifted a ball to short left. Ford was in position to make the catch, but he appeared to lose the ball in the Metrodome roof and it fell between him and shortstop Castro.

Lee led off the fourth with a 431-foot home run off Mays to make it 2-0.

Notes: Minnesota paid tribute to the military with its third annual Armed Services Appreciation Day before and during Sunday’s series finale against Tampa Bay. Veterans threw out the ceremonial first pitch, Twins players and coaches wore caps during the game, representing the five branches of the Armed Services, and the seventh-inning stretch featured soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” … Crawford was thrown out by Redmond in the second inning trying to steal second. He has now been caught stealing five times in 29 attempts. … The Twins signed their second-round selection from the 2005 free agent draft, shortstop Andrew Thompson out of Jupiter Community (Fla.) High School.

AP-ES-07-03-05 1629EDT


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