MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Another series loss has the Minnesota Twins contemplating their trade-deadline options.
Kevin Correia absorbed his major league-leading 12th loss, and Minnesota’s late comeback was thwarted by the resurgent Tampa Bay Rays in a 5-3 defeat on Sunday.
Kendrys Morales had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, but the Twins were 1 of 11 with runners in scoring position.
Minnesota was swept for the sixth time this season in its first series after the All-Star break.
“It was a good time for it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the break. “We just didn’t come out on this side swinging more.”
The Twins entered the break with five wins in six games, providing a sliver of hope in what looked like a lost season. General manager Terry Ryan indicated he wanted to see how the team played in a 10-game homestand after hosting the All-Star game as to whether it had a chance to compete for a playoff spot.
Three straight losses to Tampa Bay (47-53) — which has won 14 of its past 18 games and is looking to get back into contention in the AL East — has Minnesota looking like a seller at the trade deadline and on its way to another disappointing summer.
The Twins fell nine games below .500 (44-53) and 11 games behind Detroit in the AL Central.
“We’re a long way from .500, frankly,” Ryan said before Sunday’s game. “We’ve got a fair idea of what we’re doing and where we’re at and who’s ahead of us. We’ve got a lot of clubs to jump past.
“Without coming out and saying it, until we get to .500 we’re not exactly where you want to be at this juncture of the season. We’re not at .500, in fact we’re way below .500, and that’s a bad spot to be in.”
The Rays and Twins entered the break with 44 wins, but the teams are headed in opposite directions. Minnesota scored six runs, left 23 runners on base and was 2 of 33 with runners in scoring position in the series.
“We can’t do anything about these three games now,” Gardenhire said. “We have to move on to the next one. We’ve got a hot Cleveland team coming in here, in our division, the whole package. So it’s not going to get easier.
“We’ve got to find a way to get those guys in. I’m sure there’s frustration out in the clubhouse.”
In his previous seven starts, Correia (5-12) was 3-4 but had a 2.30 ERA in 43 innings. He allowed four runs, seven hits and three walks in four innings.
“We’re not in a position where we’re looking like, ‘Oh, a good run and we’re going to make the playoffs,'” Correia said. “We need a miraculous run right now, so it’s got to start soon, if it’s going to happen.
“If not, if we lose a bunch of games, we’re going to play our way right out of it and then whatever has to happen, has to happen.”
James Loney had two hits and two RBIs for the Rays, who have won five in a row. Chris Archer (6-5) pitched 6 1-3 innings, giving up one earned run and six hits. He walked two and struck out four to win consecutive decisions for the first time this season. Rookie Kirby Yates got two outs in the ninth for his first career save.
NOTES: Minnesota was a season-high 10 games under .500 before its pre-break run. … Twins 1B Joe Mauer swung a bat on Sunday for the first time since he went on the DL on July 2 with a strained right oblique. Ryan said Mauer didn’t face pitching or hit off a tee, but the “dry swings” were a sign that “things are going in the right direction.” … Ryan also said he would wait until Monday to announce the Twins’ starting pitcher for Tuesday’s game against Cleveland. RHP Samuel Deduno, who has made eight starts this season for the Twins, pitched three innings of relief on Sunday and isn’t a candidate to start on Tuesday.
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