Tommy Pham had three hits including a pair of solo home runs as part of Tampa Bay's 16-hit barrage as the visiting Rays remained the hottest team in baseball with a 9-3 win over the hapless Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon to sweep the three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas
The win was the fifth in a row for the Rays (85-66) and their 14th victory in their past 17 games, all in September.
Tampa Bay is chasing New York and Oakland for an American League wild-card spot and stayed 5 1/2 games behind the A's for the second wild card-spot with 11 games left in the season. The A's defeated the Angels late Wednesday night.
Ryan Yarbrough (15-5) earned the win, going four innings and allowing three runs and five hits in relief of "opener" Diego Castillo, who went the first 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Yarbrough struck out six and walked two as the second of five Tampa Bay pitchers.
Yohander Mendez (2-2) took the loss for the Rangers (64-88) after allowing eight runs -- seven of them earned -- on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Texas was outscored 16-3 in the series after being shut out in the first two games.
Tampa Bay got on the board first when Jake Bauers' double in the second inning drove home C.J. Cron and Joey Wendle. Bauers later scored on Willy Adames' infield single, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Pham hit his first homer in the third inning to expand the lead to 4-0.
Texas responded in the bottom of the third as Elvis Andrus' single plated Carlos Tocci with the first Rangers' run of the series, snapping a 23-inning scoreless streak.
The Rays all but cemented the win in the fourth, scoring four times to push their advantage to 8-1. Mallex Smith had an RBI single, Matt Duffy followed with a two-run double, and Cron added a triple to bring home Duffy.
The Rangers got a solo home run from Adrian Beltre, his 13th, in the fourth and a run-scoring single by Willie Calhoun in the sixth to creep to within 8-3 before Pham belted his second home run, and 19th of the season, in the eighth to end the scoring.
Beltre had two hits to lead Texas.
--Field Level Media