Yahoo Sports Minute:

Pirates dump slumping Rays

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have a winning record for the first time since mid-April, while the Tampa Bay Rays retain the worst record in the majors for the 21st consecutive day.

Left-hander Jeff Locke pitched 7 1/3 effective innings, and the Pirates' outfield again did most of the offensive damage as Pittsburgh beat the Rays 6-5 Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

The victory assured Pittsburgh a fifth consecutive road series win. The Pirates (39-38) last had a winning record on April 15, when they were 7-6.

"We're playing good baseball," said second baseman Neil Walker, who appeared in his first game since an early-June appendectomy. "We don't really need to worry about what our record is as to opposed to how we're playing. There's still a lot of time left in the season."

Pittsburgh won its fourth game in a row, while the Rays (31-48) lost the first two games of the three-game set.

As usual, the top of the order was potent for Pittsburgh. The leadoff hitter, right fielder Gregory Polanco, went 1-for-2 with a run and a stolen base. The No. 2 hitter, left fielder Starling Marte, was 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and the third hitter, center fielder Andrew McCutchen, knocked in two runs.

In their first 10 games together occupying the first three spots in the lineup, they are a combined 46-for-134 (.343) with six doubles, two home runs, 22 RBIs and 24 runs.

"The top three guys are unique with their lineup," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Not everybody has all of that. The big thing is to keep them off base. ... When you're going to beat this group, it seems you have to keep those guys off base."

However, Marte was forced to leave the game in the fifth inning complaining of concussion-like symptoms after a collision at second base. He was to undergo a CT scan, and the results were not immediately available.

Rays starter Chris Archer (4-5) allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Locke -- who lost three decisions on blown saves -- was removed in the eighth after allowing a two-run homer to third baseman Evan Longoria that cut the Pirates' lead to 6-3. Locke (1-1) gave up three runs on eight hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

"He added, subtracted and controlled bat speeds throughout the outing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Reliever Mark Melancon had a troublesome ninth inning, allowing three hits and two runs, but eventually wrapped things up for Locke, recording his 13th save. Left fielder Brandon Guyer pulled the Rays within 6-5 with a two-run single, but Melancon retired Longoria to end the game.

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the first as Polanco turned a leadoff walk into a quick score. The rookie stole his third base of the season -- and second of the series -- and continued through to third when catcher Jose Molina's throw sailed into center field. McCutchen scored him from third with a groundout against Archer.

The Pirates added three more in the third to lead 4-0 on RBIs by Marte, McCutchen and Walker.

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez led off with a walk and took second on a single by shortstop Jordy Mercer. Polanco advanced both with a bunt, playing what Hurdle called "an aggressive game of pepper" in shooting hits around the park. Marte shot the next pitch he saw to right field for a 2-0 lead. McCutchen improved the lead to 3-0 with a single to right, scoring Mercer, and Walker hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Marte.

"I don't know if there was much more we could do other than me not walking two leadoff hitters," Archer said. "That ultimately was the difference in the game."

The Pirates lost Marte at least for the game when he slid headfirst into the knee of second baseman Sean Rodriguez while being thrown out on a fifth-inning steal attempt. Marte remained down but conscious for a few moments before walking off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Tampa Bay scored a fluke run in the bottom of the fifth to trail 4-1. Polanco misplayed a two-out Logan Forsythe fly ball into a triple, and Molina followed with a double off Locke.

Pittsburgh regained a four-run lead in the top of the sixth, however, when first baseman Ike Davis doubled and scored on a single by third baseman Josh Harrison.

Catcher Russell Martin homered off Rays right-hander Brad Boxberger in the eighth for a 6-1 lead.

NOTES: Pittsburgh activated 2B Neil Walker (appendectomy) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned OF Jose Tabata to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Rays C Ryan Hanigan was scratched after the original lineup was posted because of a stiff neck. He was replaced by Jose Molina. ... Pittsburgh OF Josh Bell (.335, nine homers, 17 doubles for Class A Bradenton) and Rays C Justin O'Conner (.261 at Class A Charlotte) and LHP Enny Romero (Triple-A Durham) were selected to play in the Futures Game prospect showcase as part of MLB All-Star Game preliminaries.

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