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Colabello, Twins eye series victory over Rays

(SportsNetwork.com) - It has been quite an April for Minnesota slugger Chris Colabello and there is still time to add to his outstanding month.

Colabello will try to lead the Twins to a series victory on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 30-year-old Colabello, who did not reach the majors until last season, leads the American League with 26 runs batted in after driving in four runs in last night's 6-4 victory in 12 innings. He slugged a two-run homer before notching a two-run single in the 12th frame.

Colabello, who trails Miami's Giancarlo Stanton by one for the most RBI in the majors, tied Kirby Puckett's team record for the most RBI in April, which the Hall of Famer set in 1994.

"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 said.

Colabello's big game helped the Twins pick up a road win over the Rays for the first time since April 20, 2012, snapping a seven-game slide in Tampa.

The Twins also beat the Rays for just the third time in the previous 16 meetings and will try for their first series victory over Tampa Bay since taking two of three at home from July 4-6, 2011.

They have not won a series in Tampa since 2006.

Matt Joyce doubled and drove in a pair of runs while Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria added one RBI apiece for the Rays, who have lost six of their past nine games.

Both clubs will be looking for innings out of their starter today, with Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco set to square off against Erik Bedard of Tampa Bay.

Nolasco is just 1-2 with a 6.08 earned run average on the season, having allowed five runs in three of his four starts. That includes last Friday's loss at Kansas City as he was touched for 11 hits over 5 2/3 frames.

"There were some guys on base, hit a couple balls hard that put the game out of reach," Nolasco said.

That outing came just six days after Nolasco yielded just one run over eight innings in a victory over the Royals.

The 31-year-old righty has struggled in his career versus the Rays, going 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in seven meetings.

Bedard, meanwhile, will make his second start of the season in place of Alex Cobb, who is out with a strained left oblique.

The left-hander lasted four innings versus the New York Yankees on Friday, charged with four runs on six hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings. Bedard did not get a decision in his club's 11-5 win.

Bedard, 35, is 3-5 versus the Twins with a 4.04 ERA.