ST. PETERSBURG — Brandon Lowe is finding his form heading into the All-Star break.
Lowe homered twice and Mike Zunino also connected, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Saturday for their sixth consecutive win.
Ryan Yarbrough (6-3) pitched five innings of two-run ball, improving to 5-0 in his last 12 appearances. The left-hander is 8-1 in 16 appearances against Toronto.
Matt Wisler (one hit in 1⅔ innings) and Pete Fairbanks (1⅓ innings) combined for three innings before Diego Castillo finished the six-hitter for his 13th save. Rays relievers have given up two hits over 16 scoreless innings in the past three games.
Lowe has four career multihomer games, including May 21 against the Blue Jays.
“B-Lowe is really turning his season around,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
After hitting under .200 for a large part of the season, Lowe went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .208.
Marcus Semien hit his 22nd homer for the Blue Jays, who have lost four of five.
“Anytime he is at the plate he’s got a chance to hit one out,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. “He’s got power to all fields, so that’s been fun for me to watch.”
Toronto led 2-1 before Tampa Bay scored three times in the third. Gators alum Zunino led off the inning with his 19th homer. Kevin Kiermaier then doubled and Lowe made it 4-2 with a two-run shot off Ross Stripling (3-5).
Lowe opened the scoring with his 19th homer, connecting on the first pitch leading off the first. He has gone deep six times over his last eight games.
“I feel normal,” Lowe said. “I don’t think that I’m on a tear or hot as I can be, I definitely feel better at the plate. Hopefully keep trending in the right direction.”
Randy Arozarena added an eighth-inning RBI single for the Rays.
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Semien’s two-run shot off Yarbrough gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead in the third.
“He competed with what he had,” Cash said of Yarbrough, who threw 104 pitches. “I don’t think it was coming easy for him the first couple innings. Give Yarbs a ton of credit just for fighting through some of the stuff.”
Toronto had runners on the corners with two outs in the first when Zunino, an All-Star catcher, picked Vladimir Guerrero Jr. off first base.
Stripling allowed four runs and four hits in 3⅔ innings. The right-hander had allowed 12 earned runs over 46 innings in his previous eight appearances.
“Today he didn’t have his best stuff,” Montoyo said. “That’s going to happen.”