SportsDirect Inc., Published July 10 2013
Tonight's preview: Twins at RaysThe Tampa Bay Rays are taking full advantage of their recent favorable schedule, climbing into second place in the American League East. Jeremy Hellickson goes to the mound as the Rays try to extend their winning streak to seven on Wednesday, when the struggling Minnesota Twins visit for the third contest of a four-game series. Tampa Bay has given up 18 runs combined in winning eight of nine games against teams under .500 in July, including a 4-1 triumph over the Twins on Tuesday.
Minnesota is 1-9 in its last 10 contests and winless in the last seven against the Rays, dating back to last season. Joe Mauer had two of the Twins' five hits Tuesday as Tampa Bay limited an opponent to fewer than two runs for the sixth time in the last 10 contests. Rays rookie Wil Myers got his first day off since being recalled from the minors and is expected back in the lineup Wednesday.
TV: 6:10 p.m., FSN North (Minnesota), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kevin Correia (6-6, 4.19 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-3, 4.67)
Correia leads the team in victories despite notching only one in his last seven starts. The 32-year-old, who is 2-5 on the road, has worked at least five innings in 16 of his 17 outings this season and surrendered 124 hits over 105 1/3 frames. Kelly Johnson is 7-for-22 with four homers against Correia, who yielded two runs in 5 1/3 innings during his only start against Tampa Bay in 2010.
Hellickson has allowed only four runs over 26 innings while winning his last four starts and is 6-1 since June 1. The 26-year-old gave up 12 homers and walked 19 in his first 11 appearances of 2013 while opponents hit two home runs and drew seven walks from him in the last seven outings. Mauer is 3-for-3 vs. Hellickson, who won three of his four previous career starts against the Twins while posting a 4.26 ERA.
1. Tampa Bay LHP Alex Torres has yielded only one run and six hits with 33 strikeouts and eight walks over 26 innings in 2013.
2. Minnesota has recorded 25 outfield assists, led by rookie CF Aaron Hicks' eight.
3. Tampa Bay has hit 38 homers over its last 32 games, while opponents have gone deep 22 times in that span.