ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays haven't played like a cellar-dwelling team for the past week.
Logan Forsythe homered after missing four games due to back spasms, and the Rays took two of three from the AL West-leading Texas Rangers with an 8-4 victory on Sunday.
"Texas has been in first place all year," Rays starting pitcher Drew Smyly said. "They've got very good lineup, great pitching and we beat them two out of three."
Forsythe hit an opposite-field, three-run shot off Martin Perez (8-9) during a five-run fourth that made it 6-2. He has six homers in his last 10 games.
Tampa Bay, last in the AL East, has won six of seven. The Rays have outscored their opponents 55-18 during the stretch.
"I think we're getting big hits, having more quality at bats with guys in scoring position," Forsythe said. "That's a great ball club over there. We just want to continue it and see where we end up."
Smyly (6-11) allowed four runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings to go 4-0 in his last six starts.
Delino DeShields hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Drew Stubbs had a solo drive in the fifth for the Rangers, who are 1-9-2 in their last 12 regular-season road series against the Rays. Texas beat Tampa Bay in the 2010 and 2011 ALDS, going a combined 5-0 at Tropicana Field.
Perez, 1-8 on the road this season, gave up six runs, five hits and three walks over six innings.
Steven Souza Jr. put the Rays up 8-4 on a two-run homer in the eighth.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (left hip tightness) didn't start for the second straight game but entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth. "We probably would rather have not used him, but given how tight the ballgame was right there, he just does so much for our defense," manager Kevin Cash said. "We anticipate with a full night's rest he should be good to go." ... RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery), nearing the end of a rehab assignment, starts for Triple-A Durham on Monday night.
Rays OF Mikie Mahtook is hitless in 29 at-bats after going 0 for 3. . Souza has homered twice in nine at-bats after hitting one in 158 at-bats. . The Rangers have homered in nine straight games against the Rays. . Texas last won a regular-season series at Tampa Bay May 30-June 1, 2011.
Rays: Rookie LHP Blake Snell (4-5) faces Boston and one-time Tampa Bay ace David Price (11-8) Monday night.