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Archer on target, Rays defeat Twins

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Rays stung the Minnesota Twins with a 3-0 win at Target Field on Friday night.

The temperatures dipped into the low 60s and the Minnesota bats cooled along with the temperature, as the Twins collected just five hits.

Tampa starter Chris Archer was the hottest pitcher of the night, shutting out the Twins for six innings. He threw 87 pitches, gave up three hits and recorded seven strikeouts. He did not issue a walk.

"Pitching was outstanding. Archer was really good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought 6-87 (innings and pitches thrown) was perfect going into his next start. I thought fastball command overall was really good. And then the slider off that. He threw some good change ups. The change up was a nice pitch for him."

Twins starter Kevin Correia labored but lasted six-plus innings, giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking one.

"I think Kevin Correia did a nice job for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But their guy was better. He had a great fastball, good slider and really didn't give us many opportunities."

The Rays picked away at Correia for a couple of early runs and took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning. Tampa had a golden opportunity to blow the game open when back-to-back doubles by Jose Molina and Yunel Escobar to open the inning gave the Rays a 3-0 lead.

David DeJesus followed with a single and with runners on the corners, Ben Zobrist attempted a safety-squeeze bunt. His attempt was popped up and Escobar was doubled up at third. DeJesus was then picked off first and the Twins escaped giving up only one run.

"We failed to execute," Maddon said. "We shot ourselves in the foot. There's different mechanics regarding that. We messed it up."

Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar faced one batter in the inning and got three outs.

"We definitely topped it off with the trifecta of messing up a particular inning," Maddon said. "Thielbar records three outs with not even a bead of sweat appearing on his forehead."

But the Twins' offense could never get anything going, only once having more than one runner on base in any inning. Twins batters struck out 11 times -- the 55th time this season they've had double-digit whiffs.

The Rays banged out nine hits with Escobar leading the way going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Escobar's manager thought he played some good defense as well.

"How about Escobar's defense?" Maddon asked. "He made some really nice plays. I really believe this guy deserves the Gold Glove. And for that group of voters who has to see batting average attached to the Gold Glove -- he's hitting almost 270 right now, but post-April 15 he's been about .300."

Fernando Rodney came on in the ninth to pick up his 35th save.

The Rays got on the board in the second after Wil Myers hit a double off the glove of right fielder Clete Thomas, who misplayed the ball heading toward the gap. Desmond Jennings singled home Myers.

In the third, Escobar led off with a double and scored on a James Loney single.

Archer bottled up the Twins in the early going, giving up just three hits in the first five innings and striking out six.

Correia was solid early on, keeping the Twins in the game. He struck out five and walked one, but got into a lot of deep counts and threw 76 pitches in five innings.

"I kept us in the game up until the seventh," Correia said. "That's my job to keep us in the game and try to give my team an opportunity to win. I think I did that for the most part."

NOTES: Through Thursday, the Rays had committed 54 errors in 145 games this season (compared to 102 in 2012). That is the second fewest in MLB behind the Orioles (42). ... The Twins have committed 67 errors this season, fourth in the majors. ... The Twins starting staff has combined to walk 243 batters this season, second fewest in the American League. Correia entered the game with 39 walks, the seventh fewest in the AL. ... Zobrist's walk against Correia in the fifth inning was his 461st in a Ray uniform, moving him past Carlos Pena for the most in team history.
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