ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Rookie Wil Myers helped the struggling Tampa Bay Rays get a key victory in the opener of a four-game series.
Myers homered and had three RBIs, Alex Cobb pitched eight solid innings and the Rays took the lead for the first AL wild-card spot by beating the Texas Rangers, 6-2, on Monday night.
‘‘It’s big . . . just to come out here and beat this team,’’ Myers said.
Tampa Bay and Texas started play one-half game ahead of Cleveland, which was at Kansas City, in the race for the two wild-card spots.
Myers had a second-inning solo shot and hit a two-run double during a four-run fifth. Cobb (9-3) allowed two runs, six hits, and had 10 strikeouts.
‘‘At this point of the season, the position we’re in, every game is going to get bigger and bigger,’’ Cobb said.
‘‘Yesterday was the biggest game of the season, today is the biggest game of the season, tomorrow will be the biggest game of the season. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that. We realize the performance we have to put together out there every night, and I think we’re up for it.’’
Matt Garza (9-6) gave up six runs and eight hits over 4⅓ innings to lose his third straight start for the Rangers, who have lost seven in a row and are 2-12 in September.
Garza is 3-5 with Texas since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 22.
Texas has not held a lead during the current skid.
‘‘I’m not frustrated, I’m confused,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ‘‘I’m trying to figure out what we have to do to jump-start this offense.’’
The announced crowd was just 10,724. The Rays entered with the major’s lowest home attendance average of 18,747.
Tampa Bay went up, 6-2, in the fifth. After James Loney and Evan Longoria both had RBI singles against Garza, Myers drove in two with a double off Jason Frasor.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on Desmond Jennings’s sacrifice fly.