ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The Tampa Bay Rays missed plenty of opportunities to score in their latest loss, leaving the bases loaded in three straight innings.
"A disappointing loss to say the least'" Rays manager Kevin Cash said after the a 5-3 defeat to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night for Tampa Bay's third straight loss. "We've talked about it time and time again — when we get opportunities to score, we've got to somehow find a way to get those guys across. We did not."
Cash described Rene Rivera's bases-loaded, no-out popup in the sixth inning as "non-competitive basically. We know for us to win games, we've got the make the most of those opportunities. . . If your job is to move the ball, move the ball."
Rivera was also disappointed he couldn't get take advantage of that chance to score.
"When you've got bases loaded and none out and you get three outs and don't score a run, it hurts," Rivera said. "I was trying to put it in play ... They were playing the infield in so I was trying to get something over their heads."
Eduardo Escobar homered twice and Joe Mauer had a tiebreaking RBI single as Minnesota won its sixth straight.
Rays starter Chris Archer (11-10) left with no outs in the seventh after walking Shane Robinson, and giving up consecutive bunt singles to Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier.
"The whole complexion of the inning was different," Archer said of his only walk. "The other stuff was unfortunate, but it wouldn't have ever happened if the guy didn't get walked."
Archer, who entered 4-0 with an 0.74 ERA in four starts against Minnesota, allowed four runs and nine hits over his six-plus innings. He struck out 12, including seven of the first 12 batters he faced.
"That was one of those games where we kind of had to stay with it," Twins manager Paul Molotor said. "(Archer) showed early his fastball was alive, his slider was diving. We knew it was going to be challenge."
Brian Duensing (4-0) replaced Twins starter Tyler Duffey with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, and retired Daniel Nava and pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer to preserve a 2-2 tie. Kevin Jepsen pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Evan Longoria had his first homer since Aug. 7 to get the Rays within 4-3 in the seventh.
Duffey worked out of bases loaded and two-out jams in both the fourth and fifth innings. The rookie gave up two runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings in his fourth career start.
Kevin Kiermaier hit his 12th triple this season and scored to put Tampa Bay up 2-1 on Grady Sizemore's single during the fifth.
Nava got the Rays' first hit, a leadoff homer in the fourth to make it 1-0. It was his first homer since last Sept. 14 at Kansas City while with Boston.
Minnesota has its longest winning streak away from home since a six-game stretch Aug. 14-26, 2007. The Twins are 6-3 entering the final game of a 10-game trip Thursday night.
The Rays purchased the contract of C-1B J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A Durham to take the roster spot of C Curt Casali, who went on the 15-day disabled list one day after straining his left hamstring running the bases after hitting a solo homer.
Arencibia made his major league debut on Aug. 7, 2010, with the Blue Jays and hit a first-pitch homer off Tampa Bay's James Shields en route to a two-homer, four-hit game in Toronto.
"I set the bar a little too high," Arencibia said with a smile.
Twins: OF Aaron Hicks (strained left hamstring) will likely play in a few minor league games before his expected return early next month.
Rays: OF Desmond Jennings (bruised left knee) was out of the lineup and is day to day.
Twins: Tommy Milone (6-3) will start the series finale Thursday night. The left-hander was pressed into service to help a depleted bullpen last Sunday and got his first professional save by working a perfect inning in a 4-3, 12-inning win at Baltimore.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (1-2) makes his third start Thursday since returning from a left shoulder injury.