ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays used a four-run fourth inning to continue the longest active winning streak in the majors on Tuesday night with a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field.
Matt Joyce and Kelly Johnson each knocked in two runs and Chris Archer provided another strong starting pitching performance as Tampa Bay won its sixth straight and improved to 51-40 to fortify second place in the American League East.
Minnesota (37-50) lost its third consecutive game overall and seventh in a row against the Rays.
Archer (3-3) allowed one unearned run and three hits with two hit batters and two strikeouts in six innings. He won for the first time in five starts and gave Tampa Bay its 14th quality start in the last 16 games.
Alex Torres and Jake McGee each pitched a scoreless inning and Fernando Rodney picked up his 21 save despite allowing singles to the first two batters in the ninth. He recovered to strike out the side.
The Rays exploited three walks from Twins starter Kyle Gibson in its decisive inning. Gibson nearly escaped after walking Desmond Jennings and Luke Scott to start the inning when he retired Ben Zobrist on a flyout and Evan Longoria on a strikeout and jumped ahead of James Loney 0-2. But the right-hander threw four straight balls to load the bases and Joyce smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. Johnson's two-run double gave the Rays a 4-0 lead.
Gibson (1-2) allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in six innings.
Minnesota scored an unearned run in the sixth when Brian Dozier was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on an errant pick-off throw from Archer and scored on a flyout by Ryan Doumit.
NOTES: Twins C Joe Maurer hit his 27th double of the season, the most before the All-Star break in his career. ... Rays RF Wil Myers was not in the starting lineup because manager Joe Maddon was looking for a day to rest him this week and liked Kelly Johnson's matchup against Gibson. Myers was batting .161 over his previous eight games after hitting .296 in his first 13 games this season. ... Twins LHP Caleb Thielbar is expected to be placed on the bereavement list Thursday to attend the funeral of his grandmother. RHP Michael Tonkin would be recalled from Triple-A Rochester for three days. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire used the same lineup as Monday, with six hitters batting from the left side (including switch hitters) against the right-handed Archer. ... Joyce was batting just .228 with runners in scoring position (13-for-57) before his fourth-inning single.