- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Erasmo Ramirez pitched six scoreless innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Washington Nationals, 6-1, on Monday night.

Ramirez (6-2) won for the sixth time in his last seven starts, while Gio Gonzalez gave up five runs and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings for the Nationals.

Tampa Bay won for the 12th time in 16 games. The Rays have held opponents to two or fewer runs in 32 of 65 games.

Washington slugger Bryce Harper returned to the lineup and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a walk as the designated hitter. He was hit on the inside of his left leg above the knee in the ninth inning on Saturday by Milwaukee reliever Michael Blazek and didn’t play on Sunday.

The Nationals got a bases-loaded RBI single from Yunel Escobar in the ninth before Harper lined into a game-ending double play.

The Rays chased Gonzalez in the fourth when Longoria had a sacrifice fly and Logan Forsythe added a run-scoring single to make it 5-0.

Tampa Bay went up, 3-0, with a two-run third as Forsythe had an RBI single that went off Gonzalez’s heel and Jake Elmore hit a sacrifice fly.

Kevin Kiermaier’s hustle helped the Rays take a 1-0 lead in the second. Running hard out the box, Kiermaier turned what looked a routine single to center into a double. He then stole third and scored on Rene Rivera’s sacrifice fly.

Brandon Guyer had a fifth-inning RBI triple for the Rays.

Harper drew a two-out walk in the third to load the bases, but Ramirez got out of the jam by getting a grounder from Wilson Ramos. Clint Robinson lined out to first with the bases loaded to end the fifth.

Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza Jr. tied a team record by walking five times.

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