To get back into the race for a possible playoff berth, the Tampa Bay Rays would need to finish off teams behind them in the standings. They did just that Sunday.
The Rays jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead, and held on to defeat the Minnesota Twins 5-3, completing a three-game sweep.
The Rays didn't waste any time getting on the board, as Desmond Jennings led off the game with a double off Kevin Correia. Walks to Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce loaded the bases, and after Evan Longoria flew out to shallow right field, James Loney delivered a two-run single to open the scoring.
Tampa Bay added a single run in the second, as Kevin Kiermaier singled, moved to third on a base hit by Jennings and scored on a sacrifice fly by Zobrist.
The Twins got the run back in their half of the inning, as Oswaldo Arcia reached on a throwing error by Archer, and scored on a base hit by Josh Willingham.
The Rays got that run back in the third, when Longoria doubled to start the frame, moved to third on a base hit by Loney, and scored on a double by Yunel Escobar.
Tampa Bay extended their lead off Samuel Deduno in the sixth, when Longoria's second double of the afternoon scored Joyce, who doubled in front of him with two out.
However, Chris Archer could not keep the lead at four runs, giving up singles to Trevor Plouffe and Kendrys Morales, with an error by Kiermaier allowing the runners to take an extra base. A wild pitch by Archer allowed Plouffe to score, and a groundout by Willingham cut the lead to 5-3.
Minnesota would get no closer, as Brad Boxberger relieved Archer in the seventh with a pair of strikeouts, and Jake McGee worked a scoreless eighth. Grant Balfour got just one out in the ninth while putting the tying runs on base, Kirby Yates was able to finish the game and earn his first big-league save.
The Rays have now won their last five consecutive games, 16 of their last 21, and are 22-11 since June 10.
Tampa Bay will have Monday off before beginning a two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday.
NOTES: Longoria's RBI double in the sixth was his 216th of his career, passing Carl Crawford for the most two-base hits in franchise history. He also equaled Crawford's franchise RBI total with 592.