ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Reliever Jake McGee shut down the American League's top hitting team when it mattered most on Sunday as the Rays held on to beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 and take a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Detroit, entering the game batting .281 as a team, chased Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson by loading the bases with none out in the seventh inning but couldn't close the two-run gap against McGee.
Tampa Bay, which had lost 15 of its previous 20 against Detroit, took two games of the three-game series. The Rays improved to 43-39 as Detroit slumped to 43-37 after losing for the fourth time in the last five games.
Hellickson improved to 7-3 after allowing one earned run, six hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out six. Fernando Rodney struck out two in the ninth for his 17th save after picking up the win on Saturday.
A night after Leyland said he would "not tolerate" the type of brush-back pitch Rodney threw near Miguel Cabrera's head, Tigers starter Rick Porcello hit the Rays' Ben Zobrist with the first pitch in the first inning.
The mild-mannered Zobrist walked slowly to first base -- Porcello appeared to say something to him -- after being struck below the shoulder. Both benches were warned and there were no further incidents in the teams' last meeting this season.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second when James Loney doubled and scored on a two-out single by Jose Lobaton.
The Tigers answered bombastically in the fourth as Cabrera became just the second player to hit a homer -- his 25th of the season -- into the live-ray petting tank perched behind the right-center field wall. Cabrera, who had celebrated a win on Friday by mimicking friend and former teammate Rodney's archer pose, chose not to re-fire the agitation between the teams with a staid celebration with teammates.
Tampa Bay exploited Porcello's control problems to score twice in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.
Rookie Wil Myers continued his productive first few weeks in the majors with a one-out single to begin the rally and took second when Luke Scott yanked a single to right. Kelly Johnson's single to right loaded the bases. Porcello fell behind in the count 3-0 to Jose Lobaton before the eighth-hole hitter smacked an RBI single up the middle..Yunel Escobar walked with the bases loaded for a 3-1 lead.
Porcello (4-6) allowed three runs, eight hits and two walks in six innings. He struck out three.
NOTES: Leyland said before the game that he had not accused Rodney of targeting Cabrera in the 10th inning on Saturday, calling the situation "history." ... Justin Verlander's tying homer surrendered to Luke Scott on Saturday was the first he had ever allowed in the eighth inning or later. ... The Rays play 14 games against teams with sub.-500 records before the All-Star break. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria missed a second straight game because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. ... The Rays' James Loney extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning double. ... Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 15 games with the fourth-inning home run. The Dodgers' Luis Gonzalez (June 24, 2007, off Edwin Jackson) is the only other player to reach the touch tank. ... Detroit entered the game leading the American League with a .281 batting average.