Rays dump Twins 5-3, take series sweep

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The Minnesota Twins have started the second half of their season in disappointing fashion, losing their third straight to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Sunday afternoon at Target Field.

Twins starter Kevin Correia (5-12) lasted only four innings. He got off to a shaky start in the first, when Desmond Jennings led off with a double, and Correia walked the next two batters to load the bases. James Loney drove in two runs with a single to give the Rays the early 2-0 lead, the Associated Press reports.

Correia gave up two more runs in each of the next two innings, before he was pulled. Correia had four earned runs on seven hits and three walks, a weaker showing than he's had recently, according to MLB.com. He's pitched well over his past seven starts, recording a combined 2.30 ERA during that span.

The Twins' offense fared better against Rays starter Chris Archer than it did Saturday night against David Price, but it still wasn't good enough. They scored one run in the second and two in the sixth.

But they missed a chance to do some real damage in the fifth inning. The Twins had runners on second and third with one out, but Brian Dozier popped out, and Eduardo Nunez grounded out to end the inning, according to MLB.com.

The Twins had another shot in the bottom of the ninth, when two batters walked. But Rays reliever Kirby Yates came in and retired Dozier and Nunez to get his first career save.

The Twins are now 44-53 and in last place in the AL Central after being swept by the Rays.

"Without coming out and saying it, until we get to .500, you're not where you want to be at this juncture in the season," general manager Terry Ryan said, according to MLB.com. "And we're way below .500."

The non-waiver trade deadline is coming up on July 31, and there's a great deal of speculation that the Twins will do some dealing before then. Twins executive Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune's Michael Rand late last week that the performance of the team during its 10-game homestand will determine "what course of action we take" before the trade deadline.

The Twins begin a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians Monday evening at Target Field. They'll then host the Chicago White Sox for four games before heading out on the road.

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