ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — All-Star right-hander Nathan Eovaldi pitched two-hit ball over six scoreless innings and matched the major league lead with his 11th victory as the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Marcus Semien and Corey Seager homered for the Rangers (57-39), whose fifth consecutive victory since the break matched their season-best winning streak.
Eovaldi (11-3) struck out two, walked three and hit a batter, though the Rays stranded six runners on base against him. It was his first start for Texas since July 6, though he threw a scoreless second inning for the American League in last week’s All-Star Game.
Will Smith, the third Texas reliever, worked a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe went deep for the Rays (60-38), who still have the AL’s best record and a one-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East despite losing their last three games. They have lost 10 of 13 overall in July.
Tampa Bay starter Taj Bradley (5-6) struck out nine pitching into the sixth inning. The rookie right-hander gave up two runs and walked two.
Seager struck out three times against Bradley, but his 14th homer was a three-run shot to straightaway center that made it 5-1 in the seventh on the first pitch he saw from Javy Guerra, the second Rays reliever. That came a pitch after fellow All-Star Semien’s third hit was a single that ricocheted off the left foot of Guerra, who then was checked out and threw a couple of warmup tosses before staying in the game.
Semien’s 13th homer was a one-out solo shot in the third.
The Rangers went up 2-0 in the sixth when Travis Jankowski, who had already extended his hitting streak to eight games with an earlier single, had an RBI double.
Rays No. 9 batter Francisco Mejía had a one-out RBI double off José Leclerc in the seventh before Grant Anderson took over and got an inning-ending double-play grounder from Wander Franco. Anderson gave up Arozarena’s 17th homer and Lowe’s 10th in a span of three batters in the eighth.
Rays: DH Harold Ramirez was hit in the chest on a full-count pitch leading off the fifth inning. He stayed in the game. … Bradley fell down after his front (left) foot slipped when throwing a pitch to Josh Jung in the fourth. Bradley got up and gave a thumbs-up indicating he was OK, though the Rays still checked on him.
TOP PICK SIGNED
Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford, the fourth overall draft on July 9, signed a contract with an $8 million bonus that is the largest ever for a player drafted by Texas. Langford took some batting practice on the field before the game and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The season series finale is Wednesday. Rangers right-hander Jon Gray (6-5, 3.45 ERA) is 0-4 with a 5.24 ERA over his last six starts, a stretch which began with a complete-game 1-0 loss to St. Louis on June 7. The Rays likely will go with right-hander Zack Littell (0-1, 6.05), who has started only two of his 14 games.
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