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MIN@HOU: Hernandez holds Astros to two over six-plus

By the time the Rays' rain-delayed win over the Twins came to an end on Saturday night, they could see that the team closest on their heels in the Wild Card race -- the Indians -- had pulled out a victory. That keeps Tampa Bay's margin for error slim heading into Sunday's series finale at Target Field.

With their 7-0 win in the second game of the series on Saturday, the Rays tied the Rangers atop the American League Wild Card standings, maintaining their 1 1/2-game lead over the Tribe. The Yankees are three games back, and the Royals and Orioles trail by 3 1/2.

Tampa Bay has won 11 straight against the Twins, including a perfect 6-0 thus far this year. It's the Rays' second-longest winning streak against a single opponent in franchise history (they won 12 straight against the Orioles in 2008).

The Rays will have ace David Price on the hill for Sunday afternoon's game, with the lefty looking to build off his strong start against the Red Sox in his last start.

Price's previous three starts had not gone well before he held the Sox to two runs on three hits in eight innings, though he didn't receive enough run support to earn the victory.

"Dave was outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought he was great. He could not have done anything more."

The Twins have had trouble making contact this season -- already setting a franchise record for strikeouts in a year -- and going up against Price will be a tall order.

"We know we have to get better," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We can't strike out this many times. You know guys like Willingham and them are going to strike out some because they're swinging for the fences. But there's a lot of other guys in there that really have to cut down their swings."

Price will be up against Twins lefty Pedro Hernandez, who is 3-1 with a 5.25 ERA this season. He labored through just 4 2/3 innings against the Angels on Monday, but also took a no-decision.

The southpaw gave up three runs on eight hits and a walk.

"I felt good, but I think the heat got to me a little bit," Hernandez said. "I would have liked to have gotten ahead of hitters a little more. Getting behind against righties hurt me."

Rays: Myers heating up
• Over his last 11 games, Wil Myers is batting .350 (14-for-40) with five doubles, two homers and five RBIs. He's raised his average from .280 to .290 in that span.

• The Rays have lost 10 of their last 14 games against left-handed starters, dating back to July 30. Before that, they were 23-11 on the season against lefties.

Twins: Offense sputtering
• Minnesota has been shut out in each of the first two games of the series, and has scored more than three runs in a game just twice since Sept. 6.

With their loss on Saturday, Minnesota dropped to a season-worst 21 games under .500. It was the team's 12th shutout loss of the season.

• Gardenhire is just five wins away from becoming the eighth active manager to reach 1,000 career wins, and the 60th all time.

Worth noting
• The Twins are 60-62 all-time against the Rays, and 34-29 at home. But they're just 3-12 at Target Field. Comments