ST. PETERSBURG - Scott Kazmir took a shutout into the eighth inning, and Ben Zobrist and Carlos Pena homered on consecutive pitches as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 5-3 on Friday night.
Kazmir (8-7) didn't allow a run until Taylor Teagarden opened the eighth with a homer. The left-hander, who has won four straight starts at home, wound up allowing three runs and five hits over 7 1-3 innings.
Zobrist hit a two-run shot and Pena followed with his 32nd homer of the season to put Tampa Bay ahead 5-0 in the fifth. Zobrist has homered in three straight games and has 22 this season, breaking a tie with Jose Cruz Jr. (2004) for the most by a Rays switch-hitter.
Dustin Nippert (4-2) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings for the Rangers, who are 20-14 since the All-Star break.
Michael Young had three hits for Texas.
After Teagarden's homer, Marlon Byrd had an RBI single and Andruw Jones hit a run-scoring grounder off Grant Balfour, cutting Texas' deficit to 5-3. The eighth inning ended when pinch-runner Julio Borbon was thrown out trying to steal second with Josh Hamilton batting.
Kazmir worked out of a second and third, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Byrd and Jones.
J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for his 15th save. The Rays improved to 41-20 at home.
Carl Crawford put the Rays ahead 1-0 when he drove in Jason Bartlett with a grounder in the first. Bartlett made it 2-0 with a sacrifice bunt-fielder's choice.
NOTES:The Rays are 9-17 against the AL West this season. ... Pena has two homers in four at-bats against Nippert. ... Teagarden has homered in four of his last 10 games. ... Byrd has driven in 12 runs over his last 12 games. ... Texas RHP Jason Grilli (right elbow) rejoined the team after a minor league rehab stint and is expected to be reinstated from the 15-day DL this weekend. ... Rangers C Kevin Richardson, designated for assignment earlier this week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.