AL East leading Rays handle Nationals, clinch winning record

AL East leading Rays handle Nationals, clinch winning record

Ryan Yarbrough worked in relief for his first victory this year, and the Tampa Bay Rays secured their third straight winning season Tuesday with a 6-1 triumph over the Washington Nationals in St. Petersburg, Fla.The American League East-leading Rays moved to 31-17, guaranteeing a winning record in the 60-game season. The last time Tampa Bay didn’t post a winning record was in 2017 when it finished 80-82.In his second appearance since returning from the injured list, Yarbrough (1-3) tossed 5 2/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits with five strikeouts. The lefty worked out of a no-out, first-and-second jam in the fifth before yielding a run in the sixth.Starter John Curtiss, who is normally a Rays reliever, started for the second time and worked 1 1/3 as the club opener.Nate Lowe homered for the third time in four games and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a walk and his first career stolen base. Kevin Kiermaier (two RBIs, run, stolen base, walk), Manuel Margot (run, RBI, stolen base) and Mike Brosseau (run, stolen base) each had two hits.Nationals starter Anibal Sanchez (2-5) was tagged for six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his second consecutive start against Tampa Bay — he won opposed by Yarbrough last Tuesday in Washington — and the Rays stole four bases off him and five in total.Rookies Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia each notched two hits for Washington (17-29), which lost its third straight.