MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Chris Archer threw six strong innings and was backed by three RBIs each from Evan Longoria and James Loney to help the Rays to an 11-3 win over the Twins in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
Archer saw his streak of 20 2/3 scoreless innings on the road come to an end on an RBI single from Joe Mauer in the first, but settled down after that. He scattered four hits and walked one with four strikeouts.
"Given what's happened the past two nights before today, both of them were tough losses, games we felt until the end we had a chance to win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "So to kind of come out today and pour it on was nice."
Archer fared better than Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks over five innings. Gibson had a 0.96 ERA over his last four outings, but gave up two runs in the third, keyed by an RBI single from Longoria, and a run in the fifth on an RBI single from Brandon Guyer after intentionally walking Loney.
The bullpen struggled for the Twins, as the Rays scored five runs in the sixth against relievers Brian Duensing and Michael Tonkin to put the game away. Kevin Kiermaier started it with an RBI single before Longoria brought home two more runs with a single. Loney and David DeJesus also added RBI singles. The Rays added three more runs in the ninth against reliever Aaron Thompson to complete the rout, with Loney getting his fourth hit of the game.
"I would've liked to get a few more innings under my belt," Gibson said. "Five innings leaves a lot of pressure on the 'pen with four innings against a pretty tough team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Big-inning bliss: The Rays already held a 3-1 lead when they began their turn at bat in the sixth. That's when they got a much-needed big inning. Nick Franklin started things with a one-out double to left-center off Duensing. After Bobby Wilson walked, Kiermaier singled home Franklin. Tonkin took over for Duensing at that point and he hit the first batter he faced, Logan Forsythe, to load the bases for Longoria, who singled home two. Loney and DeJesus added RBI singles in the five-run inning that put the Rays up, 8-1. More >
Gibson lasts just five: Gibson was on a nice roll, averaging 6 2/3 innings over his last six starts, but turned in his second-shortest outing of the year. He looked off from the start, giving up a leadoff double to Kiermaier to open the game, and was able to work his way out of a few jams, but still gave up three runs over five innings for his first loss since April 20. More >
Minnesota's bullpen implodes: The Twins were still in the game after Gibson left, but Duensing continued his struggles by recording just one out before giving up a double, a walk and an RBI single before exiting. Tonkin didn't fare any better, allowing both inherited runners to score before giving up two more runs to put the game out of reach.
"We're hoping we can stay in the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Brian couldn't get through the inning and so we made the change. Tonkin has been pretty good but threw a couple center-cuts today. So it's a little disappointing when you hope to stay in the game when you turn it over to those guys, but overall, they've been solid."
McGee returns:Jake McGee took the mound in a Major League game for the first time since coming off the disabled list on Friday. The Rays' hard-throwing left-hander pitched the seventh and looked dominating while doing so. He struck out Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar swinging before retiring Chris Herrmann on a fly ball to left. He threw 14 pitches, of which nine were strikes. More >
"The ball was exploding out of his hand." -- Rays catcher Wilson, on McGee's outing
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Archer has now made three road starts this season, and he has allowed just one run away from Tropicana Field, posting a road record of 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA.
The Rays had a play overturned after a challenge in the bottom of the first inning, as Plouffe was ruled safe by first-base umpire Jordan Baker on a close play. The call was overturned, which ended the inning on a double play.
The Twins also challenged a play, and it saved them a run in the fifth. Second baseman Brian Dozier made a diving stop on a grounder hit by DeJesus, but Baker ruled DeJesus was safe, which scored Loney from third. But after a review, it was determined DeJesus was out, and the call was overturned to end the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Erasmo Ramirez will start for the Rays Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. ET against the Braves in Atlanta. The right-hander pitched well in his last outing Thursday night when he blanked the Yankees on one hit and two walks while striking out four in five innings to earn the win.
Twins: The Twins have an off-day on Monday before heading to Pittsburgh for a two-game Interleague series starting on Tuesday at PNC Park. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco is set to start against former Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano at 6:05 p.m. CT.