MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins again failed to figure out Chris Archer and couldn't keep the Rays off the bases.
Evan Longoria drove in three runs and had two of Tampa Bay's season-high 19 hits, Archer threw six sharp innings for his first win this month and Minnesota missed a chance for its first sweep of the Rays since 2006 with an 11-3 loss Sunday.
"Archer was good today, as advertised," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We got a run early, thought it was a good sign for the game. But he was very stingy after that."
Kyle Gibson's struggles against the Rays continued. He gave up three runs on eight hits with two walks in five innings.
Gibson (3-3) needed 94 pitches to get through five, but kept the Twins close. Leading 3-1 in the fifth, David DeJesus hit a grounder to right field that was stopped by a diving Dozier, who threw out DeJesus at first to end the inning, leaving two Rays runners stranded.
The Rays have scored 16 earned runs in their last 14 1-3 innings against Gibson, dating to last season.
"We're capable, offensively, of doing good things and today it was pretty evident," Evan Longoria said.
Archer (4-4) limited the Twins to four hits and a walk in six sharp innings after Minnesota had scored nine runs on 20 hits in their first two wins of the series.
Archer led off the game by walking Dozier, who scored on Joe Mauer's single. Archer allowed only three batters to reach the rest of the way and improved to 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota.
Kevin Kiermaier hit a grounder off Brian Duensing that scored Nick Franklin in the sixth, ending Duensing's afternoon after just one out, two hits and a walk. Michael Tonkin entered and hit Logan Forsythe on his second pitch to load the bases for Longoria, who knocked a two-run single to center.
James Loney and DeJesus followed with RBI singles to make it 8-1.
"They won the game in the sixth inning, basically. Five runs," Brian Dozier said. "Archer is nasty, that was his best stuff."
VARGAS SENT DOWN
After the game, Molitor said the Twins were sending slugger Kennys Vargas to Triple-A Rochester. On Sunday, he was left out of the starting lineup for the second straight game and was instead a late-inning replacement. Vargas has three hits in his last 12 at-bats and saw his batting average dip slightly to .248. Molitor said he was being sent down less to improve his mechanics, and more to work on his mental approach.
"It's more about what's going on in his head when he steps up into the batter's box," Molitor said. "He knows he has to do more than just take batting practice every day to contribute."
Twins: Molitor announced after the game that INF Eduardo Nunez (oblique) would be activated for Minnesota's upcoming interleague series at Pittsburgh. Before the game, GM Terry Ryan said RHP Casey Fien (shoulder) felt good after throwing a bullpen session Sunday and would likely throw another Wednesday. OF Oswaldo Arcia (hip flexor) could start working out on the field this week.
Rays: Franklin went 1 for 4 with a double in his first game back from a left oblique strain. He batted .318 in eight games during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham. Franklin hit a first-inning homer Saturday before being notified in the third he'd been called up.
"You need to be a run producer and through 100 at-bats, that hasn't really happened much for him," Molitor said. "I think the best thing is to go down there, try to find a groove and relax a little bit."
Rays: have Monday off before starting a two-game interleague series at Atlanta. Manager Kevin Cash hadn't yet set his starting rotation for the series prior to Sunday's game.
Twins: begins a two-game interleague series Tuesday at Pittsburgh. RHP Ricky Nolasco (3-1) faces ex-Twins ace Francisco Liriano (1-3). Liriano pitched seven seasons with the Twins.
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