ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Colby Rasmus hit a three-run homer during a wild eighth inning that featured four ejections, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Friday night.
Jake Westbrook gave up two hits in seven scoreless innings for St. Louis, which has won four straight.
Rasmus, who also had a run-scoring groundout during the second inning, connected against J.P. Howell for his fourth homer in the last seven games and No. 9 on the season. The drive to right led to three ejections.
Howell was thrown out by plate umpire Vic Carapazza after the left-hander threw his glove to the ground after the homer and also spiked the new ball tossed to him by the umpire. Howell then walked toward the plate area and had to be restrained.
Crew chief and second base umpire Dana DeMuth ejected Rays pitcher David Price and reserve infielder Elliot Johnson for comments made from the dugout.
Earlier in the eighth, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected by Carapazza for arguing from the dugout after Lance Berkman drew a two-out walk on 3-2 pitch.
Westbrook (7-4) struck out seven and walked three in his first victory since June 7 at Houston. The right-hander was 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA in his previous three starts.
Tampa Bay scored three times in the eighth. Evan Longoria had a run-scoring double and Matt Joyce added a two-run homer against Lance Lynn. Longoria has driven in 14 runs over his last seven games.
Fernando Salas pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
The Cardinals grabbed a 2-0 lead against Wade Davis (7-6) in the second inning. Yadier Molina hit an RBI single to snap an 0-for-13 slide.
Davis allowed six hits in seven innings. He had won his previous three starts.
Westbrook worked out of two-on, two-out jams in the second and third, then struck out Sam Fuld with a runner on third to end the fourth.
The Cardinals are playing just their second-ever road series against Tampa Bay. St. Louis swept the previous three-game set at Tropicana Field in June 2005.
NOTES: Maddon spent most of Thursday’s off day on his couch. “From 11:30 (a.m.) to 1 o’clock in the morning … that is not an exaggeration,” Maddon said. “I felt like I’d been in a fight, so I just decided to lay down. I watched every game that was on, and then I finished up with some Dave Chappelle movies. Hysterical.” … Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, a native of nearby Tampa, expects to have more than 50 family members and friends in attendance at each game in the three-game series. … St. Louis LF Matt Holliday doubled in five at-bats as the DH. He has some aches and pain stemming from cold-like symptoms.