Josh Lowe collected three hits, including two doubles, and Harold Ramirez delivered a two-run double on Sunday to help propel the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-3 win over the Seattle Mariners in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Rays (88-56) took three of four in the series and strengthened their positioning for the top American League wild-card spot. Tampa Bay is now 8 1/2 games in front of the Mariners (79-64), holders of the third spot.
Rays starter Zach Eflin (14-8) threw five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 11-4 in home games this season.
Pete Fairbanks struck out the side in the ninth for his 22nd save.
Tampa Bay pitching combined to allow nine hits but minimized damage with 13 strikeouts.
The Rays wasted little time getting to Mariners right-hander Bryce Miller (8-5), who was touched for five runs in five innings.
Each of the first four Rays’ batters reached base in the first inning, and they quickly gained a three-run lead.
Yandy Diaz singled to start the inning, and after Brandon Lowe walked, Ramirez laced a two-run double. Josh Lowe tacked on an RBI double, and Eflin had a three-run cushion to work with.
The Rays padded their lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Josh Lowe opened with a double and Jose Siri dropped a bunt single. Luke Raley ripped a double to right, plating two.
Seattle chipped back in the fourth inning with a pair of runs. Teoscar Hernandez singled to open the inning and, with one out, Mike Ford singled. Back-to-back RBI singles with two outs by Josh Rojas and Sam Haggerty trimmed Tampa Bay’s lead to three runs.
The Mariners closed the gap to 5-3 in the fifth inning. Julio Rodriguez singled and scored on Eugenio Suarez’s sacrifice fly.
Tampa Bay added a run in the sixth inning on Osleivis Basabe’s double and Christian Bethancourt’s RBI single off Eduard Bazardo.