Pridie tees off on former team's pitchers

Pridie pounds former team's pitchers

Jason Pridie made plenty of friends in his six years playing in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He had fun at their expense Saturday.

Pridie swatted a pair of go-ahead homers, including a two-out grand slam in the ninth inning, as the Rochester Red Wings rallied from five runs down and edged the Durham Bulls, 9-8, in 13 innings at Athletic Park.

Pridie singled and scored in the fourth and singled again in the sixth and Rochester entered the ninth trailing, 6-1. After Randy Ruiz hit an RBI single and scored on Matt Macri's double, Pridie stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. He slugged former teammate Scott Dohmann's 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center for his first grand slam of the year.

"He's a great pitcher, so with a guy like him you know it's coming," Pridie said. "I got a nice pitch on the outer half and went the other way with it".

After Durham tied it in the bottom of the frame, Pridie went deep off of another ex-teammate, Nick DeBarr, with two outs in the 11th to give him a season-high five RBIs, his first-multi homer game and his second-four hit game of the season.

"I played with him for a few years and I had a feeling of what he would throw me," Pridie said. "It was a 3-2 count and I was just looking to get it in play again. I put a nice swing on it and it got out of the yard. Things were going right for me."

Sergio Santos doubled home Howie Clark with one out in the 13th -- his only hit in six at-bats, and Ruiz and Howie Clark had two hits apiece for Rochester (44-53).

After hitting .303 with 32 doubles, 14 home runs, 66 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 134 games between the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits and the Triple-A Durham Bulls last year, Pridie was acquired by the Twins on Nov. 28, 2007 along with outfielder Delmon Young in exchange for pitcher Matt Garza and infielder Jason Bartlett. He was a second-round pick -- 43rd overall -- in 2002.

"I'm real good friends with some of the those guys," Pridie said. "It's nice to come back and I feel pretty good hitting in this stadium. You always want to impress when you get traded."

After hitting .311 in April, Pridie hit just .142 in May but rebounded to hit .267 in June.

"I hit well in this league last year," he said. "You have to just play the game, have fun and let your ability take you there. Normally, I heat up around this time of year anyway."

Pridie may have been on the cusp of the Majors last season, but he sees a big opportunity waiting for him in Minnesota.

"I wasn't necessarily disappointed to be traded," he said. "Tampa Bay has a great team with amazing outfielders, so I knew there was a better and quicker opportunity here to get to the Majors. I knew I had a good chance to make the Opening Day roster but that's all part of the game. I'm only 24 and I've got a long career ahead of me. To have a chance to get to the big leagues is an amazing feeling."

Tim Lahey (5-5) allowed three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in two innings to win his second straight decision. Red Wings starter Danny Graves allowed six runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and two walks while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings.

Fernando Perez had a career-best six hits to raise his average to .291, Dan Johnson hit a three-run homer, his 14th, and Elliot Johnson had three hits for the Bulls (50-46), who lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Kurt Birkins (1-1) allowed a run on one hit in the 13th and Durham starter Jeff Niemann yielded one run on two hits while striking out five and walking four over six innings.

Steve Conley is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.