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Porcello struggles, Tigers fall again in 7-3 loss to Rays

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DETROIT - It was a day of mixed emotions for Rick Porcello.

He didn't make the All-Star team — but he still might. Then he took the mound in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career, and gave up three runs before getting an out.

"I was falling behind guys. I didn't stay down in the zone well tonight at all," the Detroit right-hander said. "Just wasn't sharp early, and then obviously in the later innings kind of lost it again."

David Price came within an out of a complete game, and the Tampa Bay Rays climbed out of last place in the AL East with a 7-3 victory over the Tigers on Sunday night. The AL Central-leading Tigers put three players on the All-Star team — Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Max Scherzer. Porcello is a candidate in online voting for the final American League spot.

"Very happy for my teammates that have made the team, and obviously honoured to be included in the final vote," Porcello said. "A lot of good pitchers out there."

The Rays have won three straight and eight of nine to move a half-game ahead of defending champion Boston in the standings. Tampa Bay had sole possession of the cellar for 39 consecutive days.

Price (8-7) received his fourth All-Star selection before the game, and he allowed three runs and seven hits before being pulled amid rain, thunder and lightning with two outs in the ninth. Jake McGee came on with two on and got the final out for his fifth save in six chances.

Porcello (11-5) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings.

"Certainly not indicative of the type of pitcher Rick is," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "His last couple starts were outstanding. It just so happened that timing-wise it wasn't great for him, but he certainly deserved to be an All-Star."

Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings homered for Tampa Bay, and Torii Hunter and J.D. Martinez went deep for Detroit. The Rays had 19 hits, including four each by Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez.

Price struck out six and walked three, throwing 107 pitches. Martinez led off the Detroit ninth with a homer, and Price was able to get only two more outs as it began to rain steadily at Comerica Park. There was at least one bright streak of lightning beyond centre field and loud claps of thunder.

"It was crazy. I wasn't really looking up," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Just trying to get David through it."

Porcello was coming off back-to-back shutouts, but his 25-inning scoreless streak ended before he could retire a batter. Jennings led off with a double and scored on Zobrist's single. Then Joyce's drive was ruled a home run after a review — it hit the railing just above the wall in right field — to give the Rays a 3-0 lead in the first.

The Tigers still lead their division by four games after losing three of four to Tampa Bay.

With Price on the mound, the Rays were in good shape after scoring three runs in the first. In the fifth, Evan Longoria added an RBI single to make it 4-1.

Tampa Bay scored three more in the sixth. With men on first and third and one out, Kevin Kiermaier hit a grounder to second that was nearly a double play, but he beat the relay to first for an RBI fielder's choice.

That made it 5-1 and kept the inning going. Jennings followed with a homer to left-centre.

Jennings also made sliding catches in centre field in the sixth and seventh.

Hunter led off the seventh with a solo shot, his 11th homer of the year. Detroit might have scored another run that inning on Austin Jackson's line drive to the corner in left. But Eugenio Suarez, trying to score from first, lost his footing on the grass outside the baseline and fell about halfway between third and home, giving the Rays an easy out at the plate.

NOTES: Victor Martinez sat out a second straight game with a back issue. ... Tampa Bay LHP Cesar Ramos and wife Melanie celebrated the birth Saturday of Addison Lynn Ramos, their first child. ... Rays SS Yunel Escobar (right shoulder) begins a rehab assignment Monday in the Gulf Coast League. ... Detroit is off Monday. Tampa Bay hosts the Royals. Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-7) takes on Kansas City RHP James Shields (8-4).

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