St. Petersburg, FL-- It's clear to Rays veteran third baseman Evan Longoria ... the Rays simply have to keep winning, there's no magic formula or special instructions.

"We've put ourselves behind the 8 ball," said Longoria, before the team left for a two-city, five-game road trip that begins in Minneapolis. "And the most important thing at the end of the day, is the win. So, I don't really care how it gets done to be honest with you."

The Rays are 9 1/2 games out of first place, with 65 games remaining, so it is possible. They've won 11 of their last 15 games.

"We've just got to keep trending in that direction," said manager Joe Maddon. "And we can't afford any big slipups like we had in the first half. ... That could be baseball-devastating if that were to happen. I feel good about it... We have to be ready to play on a nightly basis, really have to be ready.

The Rays had an optional workout Friday afternoon, before departing for Minneapolis.

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