By: Sam Ekstrom | KFAN.com
The Twins’ free fall against the American League East continued Tuesday as they dropped a 4-1 decision to Tampa Bay.
Rookie Kyle Gibson (1-2) improved on the eight runs he allowed during his July 4 start against the New York Yankees, but gave up all four Rays runs in a sloppy bottom of the fourth inning.
With two outs, Matt Joyce drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single. He was followed by Kelly Johnson, who doubled to left-center-field to bring in two more, making it 4-0 in favor of the home team.
Gibson wasn’t very efficient in his first road start as a professional. He walked four batters after walking just one in his first two games combined. The right-hander also threw just 56 of his 102 pitches for strikes.
"I thought Gibby threw the ball well all except one inning where he just lost the strike zone,” said manager Ron Gardenhire. “I thought he settled in after that and went back out there for a couple more good innings. One bad inning un-done us.”
Minnesota could only scratch together three hits in six innings against Rays’ starter Chris Archer (3-3). The 24-year-old struck out two and walked none in his fourth quality start of the season. Archer’s only blip was a sacrifice fly by Ryan Doumit in the top of the sixth inning.
Tampa Bay’s bullpen was airtight to wrap up the team’s sixth straight win. Alex Torres, Jake McGee, and Fernando Rodney each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, with Rodney earning his 21st save of the year.
The two clubs will go at it again Wednesday at 6:10 from Tropicana Field.
NOTES: Reliever Caleb Thielbar, who lost his lengthy scoreless innings streak on Monday, will leave the team for a few days to attend the funeral of his grandmother. RHP Michael Tonkin was called up to replace him… The Rays (51-40) are the furthest above .500 they have been all season, while the Twins (37-50) set a new season-low at 13 games under.