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MINNESOTA SPORTS BRIEFS: Rays rally to beat Twins 7-4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's Yunel Escobar hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning and Ben Zobrist added a two-run blast later in the frame, as the Rays rallied past the Twins 7-4 in the first-of-four at Tropicana Field last night.

Luke Scott also went deep for the Rays, who have won five in-a-row and nine of their last 10. Alex Torres picked up the win in relief. Fernando Rodney recorded the final two outs to earn his 20th save. Justin Morneau hit a solo homer and Aaron Hicks went 4-for-4 with two runs scored for Minnesota, which has dropped eight-of-nine. Samuel Deduno allowed five runs in six-plus frames as he fell to 4-and-4 with the loss. The same two teams play tonight.


Former Twin and current Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer will take part in this year's MLB Home Run Derby in New York next week. National League captain and Mets third baseman David Wright has selected Cuddyer and his Colorado teammate Carlos Gonzalez to participate in the contest. Gonzalez's status is still up in the air due to his finger injury. Bryce Harper of the Nationals is the fourth and final member of the NL squad. Three of the American League derby participants have been announced. They are Robinson Cano of the Yankees, Chris Davis of the Orioles, and Prince Fielder of the Tigers. The Derby will take place next Monday night at Citi Field in New York as part of the All-Star festivities.


The Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly made a formal contract offer to restricted free agent center Nikola Pekovic. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports the deal will likely be for four years and worth 12-million-dollars per year or more. Pekovic averaged career-highs of 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 62 games last season.


The Minnesota Lynx are back in action tonight as they host the Atlanta Dream at the Target Center. The Lynx crushed the Phoenix Mercury 91-59 on Sunday to remain perfect at home at 6-and-0. Minnesota is 8-3 overall and leads the Western Conference. Atlanta has won six straight and holds the best record in the WNBA at 10-1.


This week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will feature one driver with a little more experience than others. Morgan Shepherd is scheduled to become the oldest driver to start a race in NASCAR's premier series at the age of 71. The entry list has 43 cars for 43 spots, so barring a late entry or substitution, Shepherd would break the record held by Jim Fitzgerald, who took part in a race when he was 65 years old.