ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Corey Dickerson helped the Tampa Bay Rays build up a big lead Tuesday night, and then they almost let one get away against the Cincinnati Reds.
''You're going to take every win, but we better start cleaning it up, simple as that,'' said Rays manager Kevin Cash after his club held on for a 6-5 victory.
Tampa Bay made a couple of sloppy plays in the outfield that helped the Reds rally from a 6-2 deficit and get the tying run on base in the ninth. Tucker Barnhart's triple, his third hit of the game, drove in a run in the eighth after a double by Devin Mesoraco. The triple fell between Dickerson, who had barely missed a line drive over his head earlier, and center fielder Peter Bourjos, on the warning track.
''We play in a dome,'' Cash said sternly. ''Make the adjustments.''
The Rays were saved by their early offensive output and a strong start. Dickerson went deep, Alex Cobb threw seven solid innings and Tampa Bay took a 6-3 lead into the ninth.
Dickerson had his 29th multihit game of the season, tied with New York's Starlin Castro for the American League lead. He drove in Tampa Bay's first run with a third-inning single, then capped their scoring with his 16th home run in the fourth.
Cobb (6-5) gave up two runs and eight hits while striking out six. Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Joey Votto hit his 20th home and Eugenio Suarez drove in another run off Colome. But the Reds, who had 12 of their 13 hits with two outs, lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
''Anybody that thinks this is a team that's packing it in because we've been losing some games this month doesn't know the ballclub,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said. ''You've got one of the top closers in the American League and next thing you know we're one swing of the bat away from having the lead and having our closer in the game.''
Cincinnati starter Amir Garrett, who has struggled in four starts since returning from the disabled list, gave up three walks in the third inning after the Reds had taken a 2-0 lead. Dickerson drove in a run with his first hit, and Logan Morrison's two-run single put the Rays ahead 3-2.
Jesus Sucre and Dickerson homered in the fourth to push Tampa Bay's lead to 6-2. Sucre's homer was the Rays' 25th in 13 games.
''We have to start playing better defense, but we can hit,'' Morrison said. ''If our defense can pick it up and we don't have to use (Colome) so much, we can make it a little easier on ourselves. But a team like that with a good lineup, you give `em extra outs, it's going to get tight.''
Garrett (3-6) has given up seven home runs and 18 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings his last four starts.
FIRST PITCH AT 103
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by 103-year-old Lt. Cmdr. Jim Downing, who was a gunnery mate on the USS Virginia during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Downing, who was onshore when the attack began, is the second-oldest living survivor of Pearl Harbor.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (elbow) will probably make his first start of the season at Washington this weekend if he feels well after a bullpen session in Louisville on Wednesday . ... LHP Brandon Finnegan (left shoulder) is scheduled to make his third rehab start Wednesday with Triple-A Louisville.
Rays: SS Tim Beckham, who took a pitch off his left hand Monday night, was out of the starting lineup. ... C Wilson Ramos (right knee surgery) and reliever Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) could be ready for their season debuts this weekend or early next week.
Reds: RHP Tim Adleman (4-3) is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA over his previous five starts. He takes the hill in Wednesday's series finale.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (3-2) looks to rebound Wednesday from a four-start stretch where he went 0-2 with a 10.06 ERA. As for the possibility that Ramirez's rotation spot is in jeopardy, Cash said ''I don't think we're there yet.''
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