ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Charlie Morton remained unbeaten with the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching seven shutout innings Monday night en route to a 6-2 victory against the Oakland Athletics.

Brandon Lowe homered for the third time in two days, snapping a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and helping the Rays take sole possession of the first place in the AL East with their sixth victory in seven games.

The New York Yankees, who were rained out at home where they were to play the Mets, slipped a half-game behind.

Morton (8-0) extended his career-best winning streak to 11 games dating to Aug. 17, when he was with Houston.

The stretch covers 21 starts – 14 with Tampa Bay since signing a $30 million, two-year contract in free agency – and is the longest active streak in the major leagues ahead of Zach Davies of Milwaukee, who’s 7-0 over his past 14 starts.

Morton allowed two hits – singles to Marcus Semien in the first and third innings – and retired the last 14 batters he faced. Outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham robbed the A’s of potential hits with leaping catches at the wall.


Stephen Piscotty ruined Tampa Bay’s bid for a shutout, driving in Mark Canah with a double, then scoring on Robbie Grossman’s run-scoring single in the ninth.

Lowe, who homered twice in Sunday’s 6-1 win in Boston, hit a two-run shot off Tanner Anderson (0-1), who was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas to make his debut with Oakland, which acquired him from Pittsburgh last November.

Kiermaier also had a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, going deep against reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh inning. Ji-Man Choi made it 6-0 with a two-run homer off Joakim Soria in the eighth.

Anderson made six relief appearances for the Pirates last season. He allowed two runs and three hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first big league start.

The attendance was announced as 16,091, a figure helped in part by the Rays putting 5,000 tickets on sale for $5 apiece last week.

The discounted tickets, available on the internet for a limited time, were made available as part of a flash sale, including the first five dates of a seven-game homestand that began Monday.


The allotment for two of the games – against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday and Friday – sold out before last week’s deadline.

The Rays entered Monday night averaging 13,802 – 29th among 30 major league teams.


CARDINALS 4, MARLINS 1: Michael Wacha pitched six scoreless innings in his return to the rotation and St. Louis broke a three-game losing streak by winning at Miami.

Wacha (4-2), who was briefly demoted to the bullpen, benefited from three double plays and a pickoff in his first start since May 22. He allowed five hits, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 5.63.

Jordan Hicks worked around a leadoff single in the ninth and struck out two for his 13th save.


The Cardinals totaled only four hits but scored three unearned runs in the sixth, when catcher Jorge Alfaro made a wild throw on a sacrifice. Sandy Alcantara (3-6), facing his former team for the first time, struggled through five-plus innings and allowed four runs, but only one was earned.

St. Louis bounced back after being swept by the Chicago Cubs in a three-game weekend series. The Marlins, saddled with the National League’s worst record, have scored nine runs while losing five straight.

The Cardinals scored the first run in the fourth on doubles by Marcell Ozuna and Yairo Munoz.

After their first two batters reached in the sixth, Kolten Wong laid down a bunt, and both runners scored when Alfaro threw the ball down the right-field line. Harrison Bader followed with a sacrifice fly.

Marlins rookie Harold Ramirez had three hits to hike his average to .330.



PIRATES: Pittsburgh  placed right-hander Jordan Lyles on the 10-day injured list with tightness in his left hamstring.

The move came after Lyles gave up three runs, five hits and four walks over three innings Saturday in a 5-3 loss at Milwaukee.

GIANTS-PADRES: Outfielder Alex Dickerson was traded to San Francisco from San Diego for minor league right-hander Franklin Van Gurp.

Dickerson will join Triple-A Sacramento. He’s been primarily with Triple-A El Paso this season aside from a 12-game stint with the Padres, when he batted .158 (3 for 19) with two RBI and seven strikeouts.

BRAVES: Dallas Keuchel dominated in his first minor league game since signing with Atlanta, pitching one-hit ball for seven scoreless innings for Class A Rome.

Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner, struck out nine against Charleston in the South Atlantic League.

MARLINS: Derek Jeter, the team CEO, watched JJ Bleday have a big night at the Southeastern Conference tournament, which may be one reason Miami took the Vanderbilt outfielder with the fourth pick in the draft last week.

“I only saw one game and he was 5 for 5,” said Jeter. “I told him everything is downhill from this point forward.”

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