MIAMI (AP) — Josh Lowe hit a tiebreaking single during Tampa Bay’s three-run 10th inning, and the Rays beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.
Four Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a four-hitter. After going 8-17 in July, the Rays closed out a 17-8 August and pulled within 1½ games of AL East-leading Baltimore.
Jonathan Aranda opened the 10th with an infield single for the Rays’ third hit of the game, moving automatic runner José Siri to third. Lowe, hitting for Vidal Brujan, then singled back up the middle against David Robertson (4-6).
“All I was trying to do is put the ball in play, whether it’d be on the ground — I like my chances of beating a double-play ball — or trying to hit a sac fly deep enough to get him in,” Lowe said. “Definitely pretty antsy there watching that game unfold. I was ready as soon as they called my name.”
Randy Arozarena added a two-run single as the Rays won for the eighth time in nine games overall. He also stole two bases in the 10th, giving him 20 for the season. The All-Star outfielder has reached 20-20 in steals and homers for three consecutive seasons.
“It speaks to how good of a player he is,” Lowe said.
Shawn Armstrong (1-0) threw 1 2/3 hitless innings for the win, and Pete Fairbanks closed with a perfect 10th for his 18th save.
Miami wasted a terrific start by Jesús Luzardo, who struck out eight while pitching six innings of one-hit ball. The Marlins (66-67) dropped under .500 for the first time since they were 25-26 entering play on May 26.
“There’s four weeks left. As bad as it’s been, we’re still it,” said Marlins manager Skip Schumaker, who is hoping his team can rally into an NL wild card. “We hit a skid in the second half, there’s no doubt about it. But we’re getting really good pitching performances.”
Tampa Bay threatened in the eighth. Arozarena was hit by a pitch with one out, and Harold Ramirez reached on an infield single after his comebacker deflected off reliever Andrew Nardi’s left hand.
Tanner Scott then relieved Nardi and retired Isaac Paredes on a double-play grounder.
Rays starter Zach Eflin was lifted after 6 1/3 innings and 69 pitches. The right-hander allowed four hits, struck out four and didn’t have a three-ball count in his outing.
“I try to pride myself in not walking people,” Eflin said. “Obviously, not getting three-ball counts is important to me. It was nice to be able to get ahead of guys, throw strikes and keep them off balance.”
Luzardo was working on a no-hitter before Yandy Díaz doubled with one out in the sixth. Arozarena then flied out to deep center and Ramirez struck out swinging.
“My body felt good but they made me work,” Luzardo said. “I felt like there were some really good at-bats. Thankful everything worked out for me.”
Siri chased Josh Bell’s drive to left-center and made a diving catch at the warning track for the first out in the seventh.
HONOR FOR ARRAEZ
All-Star second baseman Luis Arraez was presented with the Marlins’ Heart and Hustle Award, symbolic of the player who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditional values of baseball” in addition to performance.
Rays: OF Manuel Margot (right elbow loose bodies) will progress to range of motion tests in his next step toward possibly returning next month.
Marlins: OF Jorge Soler (right hip soreness) felt better, but he got the night off after exiting in the seventh inning Tuesday. … Nardi had three fingers on his pitching hand taped after the game. He underwent X-rays, which were negative.
Rays: Have not announced a starter for the opener of a three-game series at Cleveland on Friday. The Guardians will go with RHP Cal Quantrill (2-6, 6.45 ERA).
Marlins: LHP Braxton Garrett (7-5, 3.96 ERA) takes the mound Thursday night for the opener of a four-game series at Washington. RHP Joan Adon (2-0, 5.25 ERA) pitches for the Nationals.