ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays knew that a weekend sweep of the Cleveland Indians would guarantee they would go into the Labor Day holiday holding one of the two wild card spots in the American League, and they accomplished their mission.
Nate Lowe's two-run homer broke a 1-1 tie and helped Charlie Morton earn his 14th win as the Rays sent Cleveland out of Tropicana Field with an 8-2 loss that put Tampa Bay into the first wild card spot.
After Cleveland had tied the game in the second on an RBI double by Jake Bauers, Lowe stepped to the plate in the fourth after starter Adam Plutko issued a walk to Willy Adames and made sure his team would never trail again.
Travis d'Arnaud, who came on as a pinch-hitter after Plutko was lifted form the game, added an RBI doble inthe fifth and a run-scoring single in the sixth, and five consecutive base hits in the eighth led to three more runs on singles by MikeZunino, Eric Sogard and Austin Meadows.
Morton worked into the sixth inning, allowing just a run on four hits and striking out eight. Tampa Bay used Hoby Milner to finish off the sixth while Pete Fairbanks put up a scoreless seventh. Andrew Kittredge allowed a run on a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly by Bauers, but Chaz Roe finished off the frame and Ricardo Pinto worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off the sweep.
The victory puts the Rays atop the wild card standings in the American League East, a half-game ahead of the Indians and one game in front of the Oakland Athletics, who lost to the New York Yankees in walkoff fashion.