The Rays jumped on 11-game winner Rick Porcello for three runs in the first inning, and All-Star David Price nearly went the route in a 7-3 Tampa Bay victory over Detroit on Sunday Night Baseball.
Tampa Bay ends a 10-day road trip, all against teams with winning records, with a 9-2 mark. The Rays won the final three games of the four-game set in Detroit.
Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez had four hits apiece as Tampa Bay collected 19 in all. Matt Joyce's early two-run homer was big, and Desmond Jennings later added a two-run shot for a 7-1 lead.
Before Friday the Rays had gone 19 straight games against Detroit scoring four runs or fewer. But they hit at least five in all three victories.
It was an interesting finish to Price's night. With rain starting to come down, and lightning in the area he was one strike from a complete game. Twice Bryan Holaday could have been rung up but the pitch was ruled barely outside. It was Price's first walk of the night against six strikeouts.
Rays manager Joe Maddon summoned Jake McGee to get the final out and he whizzed a 98-mph fastball by Austin Jackson.
Detroit's J.D. Martinez started the ninth with a home run to start the process of Price not being able to finish up. But Price was far better than Porcello, who entered with a 25-inning scoreless streak and was trying to match New York's Masahiro Tanaka as the game's only 12-game winner.
In eight days the Rays (41-50) have jumped over 10 teams in the standings, having had the worst record in baseball. In addition they are out of the AL East cellar, now occupied by Boston. And they come home to take on Kansas City, which will be throwing James Shields against Jake Odorizzi.
Desmond Jennings, who went 3-for-5, hit Porcello's second pitch for a double and came home on Zobrist's single. Joyce then homered, a ball that was originally ruled a triple but quickly was corrected by replay -- it bounced back into the field but hit a railing just over the fence.
Detroit pulled within 3-1 in the bottom of the first, then the Rays went silent at the plate until a pair of singles in the fifth, followed by Evan Longoria's RBI single for 4-1. Tampa Bay padded the lead with a three-run sixth, Kevin Kiermaier beating out a possible inning-ending double play for 5-1. Jennings followed with his home run.