ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Yandy Díaz hit a leadoff home run and Mike Zunino later connected, reliever Dietrich Enns pitched four solid innings and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Thursday night.
The Rays lead second place Boston and Toronto by 8 1/2 games. The fourth-place New York Yankees are nine back.
“Our job isn’t to control the teams behind us, our job is to come here everyday and just try to win our game,” Díaz said through an interpreter. “That’s stuff we can control.”
Tampa Bay slugger Nelson Cruz left the game in the sixth with a bruised right forearm. He hit by a pitch on the arm during the first inning.
Rays manager Kevin Cash said X-rays on Cruz were negative and expects him to be available Friday.
Enns (2-0) gave up one run and three hits as six Tampa Bay pitchers combined on a six-hitter. The 30-year old left-hander, appearing in his seventh game this season and ninth overall, went four scoreless innings at Detroit last Saturday to get his first big league win.
“Dietrich has made the most of it,” Cash said. “Once he got comfortable, he committed himself to the zone. His stuff is really, really sharp.”
Niko Goodrum and Jeimer Candelario homered for the Tigers, who took two of three from Tampa Bay last weekend. Tyler Alexander (2-3) allowed four runs and five hits over 5 ⅔ innings.
“I thought Alexander did a good job,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “We didn’t quite have enough offense to support him.”
Díaz homered on Alexander’s first pitch in a two-run first.
“I think that really set the tone,” Zunino said.
Goodrum got the Tigers within 2-1 on a fifth-inning homer. Kevin Kiermaier scored from second on Manuel Margot’s infield single in the Rays half to make it 3-1.