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Rays keep rolling after homers power sweep

Five relievers combine to allow seven hits, two runs
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's positive vibe continued on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field after the Rays took a 4-2 win to earn a three-game sweep over the Tigers.

"Ultimately pitching, some timely hitting, and we pull out a really nice series," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay's positive vibe continued on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field after the Rays took a 4-2 win to earn a three-game sweep over the Tigers.

"Ultimately pitching, some timely hitting, and we pull out a really nice series," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

View Full Game Coverage

The Rays moved to 48-44 on the season while extending their winning streak to five. Not only are the Rays pitching well these days, they're also hitting. And both sides have fueled the feel-good run that has seen Tampa Bay go 14-4 since June 22.

"Wins help that [vibe]," Cash said. "I think we've had a pretty good vibe all year long. It's all about the guys, the way they carry themselves. Today, 12 o'clock game, I don't know if any player does cartwheels over that, but they come in excited to get in here and get the game going. … Youth brings some energy. There's no doubt about it. ... We're getting a lot of buy-in from the guys right now."

Video: DET@TB: Cash and Cron discuss 4-2 win vs. Tigers

Ironically, a day after the Rays rolled out plans for a ballpark in Ybor City, the team improved to 14-1 at Tropicana Field since June 11.

C.J. Cron's three-run homer in the seventh off Jordan Zimmermann gave Cron his 18th homer of the season while putting the Rays up 4-2. The first baseman/DH went 3-for-4 on the day, and he's hitting .361 in his last 14 games. Kevin Kiermaier homered in the third on a 2-2 pitch from Zimmermann to put the Rays up 1-0. James McCann answered for the Tigers in the fourth with a two-run shot off Matt Andriese to give the Tigers a one-run lead.

Video: DET@TB: Andriese fans Hicks to K the side in the 3rd

The Rays used their usual parade of pitchers, beginning with Hunter Wood's scoreless first inning. Andriese, Ryan Yarbrough, Diego Castillo, and Sergio Romo followed. Yarbrough got the win after tossing three scoreless innings and Romo picked up his 11th save of the season.

Video: DET@TB: Romo K's Rodriguez to record his 11th save

Yes, the Rays have an uphill climb to get to the postseason this year, but inside the clubhouse, belief about making a run for a playoff spot is beginning to grow.

"It's a lot of fun coming to the field each and every day," said Kiermaier, who went 3-for-5 on Wednesday. "I said to some of these guys after the win yesterday, 'I hope you guys realize the potential and what we're capable of doing in this room.' … We're just getting started."

Video: DET@TB: Kiermaier rips a solo homer, fan makes catch

"It's a good team. I've said that from the beginning," veteran Carlos Gomez added. "There's a lot of talent in this clubhouse. Everybody comes here hungry and plays baseball. For the baseball people, they think that we're not good enough. But you see how good we're playing. We've been balling. In the second half, if we come with that chemistry, we can do something."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Tigers had a runner on third with two outs in the eighth. That's when Victor Martinez hit a liner to left. Mallex Smith got a good jump on the ball and dove at the last second to make the back-handed inning-ending grab.

Video: DET@TB: Smith lays out for a run-saving catch in 8th

According to Statcast™, the play came with a 38-percent catch probability, making Smith's grab a four-star catch. Smith has four four-star catches this season. He had three apiece in 2016 and '17 (and one five-star in '16).

HE SAID IT
"We have to go play a good team in Minnesota, who has played us really tough. Four-game series are always tough, especially on the road. But I'm confident the guys feel good about themselves going into the break." -- Cash

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Smith got called out trying to steal second with two outs in the eighth. The Rays challenged the call, and after a 1 minute, 53 second review, the call on the field was overturned and Smith had his 16th stolen base of the season.

Video: DET@TB: Smith steals second as call overturned in 8th

UP NEXT
Blake Snell will start for the Rays on Thursday when they begin a four-game series against the Twins in an 8:10 p.m. ET contest at Target Field. The left-hander is 8-1 with a 1.27 ERA in his last 10 starts. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will start for the Twins.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays