ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Nick Bierbrodt pitched seven scoreless innings as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays completed a four-game sweep over the Minnesota Twins with a 5-1 victory Monday.
Minnesota, which has lost 21 of 28, dropped 1 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland, which was off Monday. The Indians and Twins open a three-game series Tuesday night at Jacobs Field.
Bierbrodt (1-2) allowed just two hits. The left-hander, who struck out seven and walked three, retired his last 10 batters.
Ben Grieve hit a solo homer for Tampa Bay, which has a season-high four-game winning streak. Tampa Bay, with the major's worst-record of 42-77, have won 12 of 22 since July 21.
The Twins threatened in each of the first four innings, but went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Minnesota failed to convert any of nine opportunities with runners in scoring position in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Devil Rays.
In contrast, four Tampa Bay runs came on two-out hits.
Toby Hall put the Devil Rays ahead 1-0 with a two-out RBI single in the third.
With two outs in the fifth, Tampa Bay scored twice to take a 3-0 lead. Grieve hit a solo shot to center and, after Hall singled, Randy Winn has an RBI triple
Jason Tyner had an RBI grounder in the sixth and Aubrey Huff had a two-out, run-scoring single in the seventh to make it 5-0.
Denny Hocking's ground ball in the ninth drove in the Twins' only run.
Twins starter Kyle Lohse (3-5) is winless in his last six starts, losing five times. He gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Lohse helped himself out of a first inning jam by catching a liner by Winn with the bases-loaded and turning it into an inning-ending double play.
The Twins had just nine runs in the series, and have scored three times or less in 20 of 31 games.
It was the first time since June 16-19, 1994 -- when Oakland swept Texas -- that a team in last place at a start of a series swept a team in first place in a four-game series. Minnesota started the series tied for first. Notes: Tampa Bay starting pitchers have allowed just four runs over 32 innings in the past five games. ... Twins DH David Ortiz had a four-game home run streak end. ... Tyner, the Devil Rays' leadoff hitter, broke an 0-for-17 streak with an eighth inning single. ... Grieve had just two RBIs during the Devil Rays' seven-game homestand. It was his first homer since July 27. ... Bierbrodt allowed seven runs and 13 hits over 3 2-3 innings in his last start on Wednesday against the New York Yankees.
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