ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Garza allowed one run over seven innings and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Seattle Mariners 9-1 on Saturday night.
Matt Joyce and B.J. Upton homered for the Rays, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees. Tampa Bay, bidding for its second division title in three years, has a magic number of two (any combination of Rays wins or Boston losses) to clinch a playoff berth.
Garza (15-9) allowed eight hits, struck out five and walked none. He was 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA in his previous three starts.
Joyce hit a two-run drive during a four-run first. Upton had a seventh-inning solo shot and added an RBI triple during a three-run eighth.
Franklin Gutierrez singled in a run in the sixth for the Mariners, running his team-best total to 60 RBIs.
Seattle dropped to 23-54 on the road this season and has lost seven of eight against Tampa Bay in the season series.
Ben Zobrist doubled in a run, Dan Johnson had a sacrifice fly and Joyce connected against Doug Fister (6-13) for his 10th homer, helping the Rays grab a 4-0 lead in the first.
Fister allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.
Garza induced an inning-ending double play from Gutierrez with two on in the first and got Ichiro Suzuki to hit a two-out grounder with a man in third during the fifth.
Upton's homer and a run-scoring single by Carl Crawford extended Tampa Bay's advantage to 6-1 in the seventh.
Seattle left fielder Mike Carp left in the fifth with a strained right arch. He was hurt while running the bases on a double.
Rays All-Star 3B Evan Longoria (left quadriceps strain) missed his second consecutive game but still expects to return in the next three or four days. "It feels a lot better and we'll go from there," Longoria said. … Seattle closer David Aardsma (left oblique strain) is expected to be sidelined for the next two or three days. RHP Brandon League will serve as the closer while he's out. … Crawford tied his team record set in 2004 when he scored his 104th run of the season in the first. … Fister retired 10 in a row after Joyce's homer.
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