Minnesota at Tampa Bay

Venue: Tropicana Field

The Minnesota Twins' offense and pitching both continue to prove unreliable during the team's rough stretch. Those troubles could continue Wednesday night as they face a hot pitcher while their own hurler tries to turn things around.

Minnesota tries to avoid losing its sixth straight road series when it faces Jeremy Hellickson and the Tampa Bay Rays, who seek a season-high seventh straight victory.

The Twins (37-50) suffered their ninth loss in 10 games with a 4-1 defeat Tuesday to the Rays (51-40), winners of 10 of 11.

It was the sixth time in 10 games Minnesota has been held to four runs or fewer, and the seventh time over that span the team's starter failed to record a quality start.

Joe Mauer, who came in hitting .133 over his last 12 games, accounted for two of five Minnesota hits. But Justin Morneau, whose 51 RBIs lead the Twins, was 0 for 4 to drop to 3 for 30 over his last nine contests.

"Offensively early, we were banging some balls pretty hard," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I thought we were hitting them on the screws at people."

Minnesota's woes appear ripe to continue against Hellickson (8-3, 4.67 ERA). Since matching a season worst by allowing eight runs over 5 2-3 innings June 13 to Kansas City, he's won four straight starts with a 1.38 ERA.

The right-hander's last three outings have all been at home, where he's given up two runs over 20 innings. Hellickson held the White Sox to one run in seven frames of an 8-3 victory Friday while tying a season high with nine strikeouts.

"I felt the same when things were going bad," said Hellickson, who has quality starts in five of his last six outings after recording only three in his previous 12 starts. "It's just a matter of keeping the ball down, getting ahead and making a big pitch when I need to."

Hellickson has the luxury of pitching for a Rays team that is a season-best 11 games over .500 and averaging 5.9 runs while batting .286 in nine games this month.

``The team's been playing really well the last couple of weeks and we're starting to build a little confidence in each other,'' said Matt Joyce, whose two-run single opened the scoring Tuesday.

Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (6-6, 4.19) has generally been a solid option in his inaugural season with the Twins but not so much in his last two starts. The righty has surrendered nine runs in 11 innings, and gave up a season-worst 10 hits over six frames in a 4-0 loss at Toronto on Friday.

Three of the four runs he allowed came in the fourth inning, which he started by issuing two walks. Correia had gone 19 straight starts - dating back to Sept. 17 with Pittsburgh - without walking three batters, but he's done so in back-to-back games.

He'll have to be wary of Luke Scott, who is slugging .778 over his last eight games. It'd also be wise to keep Desmond Jennings off base as he's scored 13 runs in his last 11 contests.

Hellickson is 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts against Minnesota. Morneau is 0 for 5 off him while Mauer is 3 for 3.

Correia didn't record a decision in his lone outing versus Tampa Bay, giving up two runs in 5 1-3 innings while with San Diego on June 23, 2010.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
Conversation powered by Livefyre
Probable Starters

Kevin Correia, RHP
2013 stats
105.1 Innings Pitched 111.2
6-6 Wins-Losses 8-3
4.19 Earned Run Average 4.67
21 Walks 26
56 Strikeouts 89
96 Pitches Per Start 98
Career vs. opponent
5.1 Innings Pitched 25.1
0-0 Wins-Losses 3-1
3.38 Earned Run Average 4.26

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Minnesota5th AL Central7092.432205-5 L 1
Tampa Bay4th AL East7785.475193-7 L 1
vs Jeremy Hellickson
vs Kevin Correia

Related Video

December 19, 2014
Justin Upton traded to Padres (2:18)
December 17, 2014
Boomer & Carton: Chase Headley will start at 3B
December 11, 2014
Jim Rome: Dodgers' overhaul
December 10, 2014
John Smoltz on the Doug Gottlieb Show

CBSSports.com Shop

Mens Chicago Cubs Nike Royal Blue Classic Pullover Hoodie

MLB Cold Weather Gear
Get your favorite team
Shop Now

M. PelfreyGroin
G. PerkinsElbow, Biceps
T. PlouffeForearm
Tampa Bay
T. BeckhamKnee
Y. EscobarKnee
D. JenningsKnee
M. MooreElbow
J. PeraltaIllness
J. SandsWrist
Series Game Log
Apr 6TB 3:10 PM EDT  
Apr 7TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 8TB 7:10 PM EDT  
May 1BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 2BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 3BAL 1:35 PM EDT  
May 29BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 30BAL   
May 31BAL 1:35 PM EDT  
Jul 24TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 25TB   
Jul 26TB 1:10 PM EDT  
Aug 31BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 1BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 2BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 17TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 18TB   
Sep 19TB   
Sep 20TB 1:10 PM EDT