Morrison drive in all three Rays runs in 3-1 win
CHICAGO — The Tampa Bay Rays know where they stand in the playoff race. Now they have work to do in the final month of the regular season.
Blake Snell won for just the third time in 21 career road starts and Logan Morrison hit his 34th home run and drove in three runs to lead the Rays to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
“Any game we can get is one step closer to where we need to be,” Morrison said.
Snell (3-6) allowed an unearned run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings as he won his third straight decision for the Rays, who are three games back in the American League wild-card standings.
In his last 10 starts, Snell has a 2.93 ERA.
“All my pitches I’ve had a lot of confidence in,” Snell said. “I felt so strong with the changeful — I felt like I was throwing it more than my fastball today.”
Morrison went 3-for-4 for the Rays (68-68), who have won six of eight.
“They know what’s at stake,” manager Kevin Cash said. “You talk about scoreboard watching and this and that. You almost look beyond that. We gotta win out and win series and good things will happen.”
Alex Colome pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his major league-leading 41st save in 46 opportunities.
The White Sox (52-81) have lost four straight.
Reynaldo Lopez, who was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, struck out seven but allowed three runs in six innings. He had been sidelined since Aug. 18 with a strained back.
“Other than a couple pitches that ended up being up, I thought he did a nice job after two weeks of being down,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said.
Lopez (0-2) retired the final 11 batters he faced.
“Sometimes you make mistakes and you have to understand that it’s a mistake, you have to accept it,” Lopez said about settling down after giving up the home run. “At the same time you have to keep moving forward because that pitch is already made, there’s nothing you can do. That’s what I tried to do, just kept my focus on the game and tried to get the next batter out.”
Tim Anderson lined out to leave the bases loaded in the seventh inning for the White Sox.
The Rays turned three double plays.
“Another really strong performance by Blake. The double-play ball helped him out quite a bit,” Cash said about Snell. “Just get them to hit it to (shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria), that seems to be the key. Strong, strong performance on his end. I know he had more pitches left in the tank, but you know what, our bullpen has been so good for us.”
Morrison hit a two-run shot in the first inning. His previous career high for home runs in a season was 23 in 2011. He has five home runs in his last five games.
“Hopefully his bat just continues to be as loud as his mouth,” Cash said.
The White Sox pulled within one in the second inning when Kevan Smith scored from second base on Morrison’s throwing error on a Leury Garcia single.
Morrison’s RBI single in the third extended Tampa Bay’s lead.
NOTES: White Sox 1B Jose Abreu (right elbow) sat out for the second straight day for rest, though manager Rick Renteria said Abreu wanted to play. ... White Sox OF Leury Garcia (right hand contusion) exited the game after the fourth inning. ... The Rays recalled C Curt Casali, RHP Ryne Stanek and LHP Adam Kolarek from Triple-A Durham for the team’s September call-ups. ... Casali, 28, hit .263 with 48 RBIs in 85 games at Triple-A. He has hit .195 in 152 games in parts of three major league seasons, the most recent in 2016. ... Stanek, 26, was 0-0 with a 6.39 ERA in 13 previous outings with Tampa Bay this season for his first major league action. He was 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA at Triple-A. ... Kolarek, 28, was 1-0 with a 5.87 ERA in 11 appearances this season with the Rays. He was 3-4 with a 1.65 ERA at Triple-A. ... The White Sox activated RHP Reynaldo Lopez from the 10-day disabled list, recalled RHP Carson Fulmer from Triple-A Charlotte and purchased the contract of LHP David Holmberg from Triple-A. ... Lopez, 23, (strained back) went on the DL Aug. 19 (retroactive to Aug. 18). He was 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA in two starts after he was recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 11. ... Fulmer, 23, made his first major league start on Aug. 21during a doubleheader against Minnesota. He allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings. He was 7-9 with a 5.79 ERA in Triple-A this season. ... Holmberg, 26, was 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA with the White Sox this season before he was outrighted to Triple-A on Aug. 11. He went 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA with Triple-A Charlotte. ... White Sox 2B Yoan Moncada (right shin contusion) is starting baseball activities this weekend but not expected to be activated from the 10-day DL until Monday when he is eligible.