The Tampa Bay Rays finished the second-best homestand in their history Adidas Nicklas Backstrom Jersey , with a much easier path between now and the All-Star Game as they try to claw their way back into wild-card contention.

Tampa Bay (41-40) went 8-1 at Tropicana Field, finishing a grueling stretch of 16 games against the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals and going 10-6 in those games to rise back above .500.

Now the Rays have a stretch of 16 straight games against teams with losing records, including a three-game series at the Miami Marlins (34-51) starting Monday.

The Rays have dominated with their patchwork pitching staff, allowing a total of seven runs in their last six games, with five wins and a 1-0 loss. They took three of four from Houston to close out the homestand and hope to continue the success to take some positive momentum into the All-Star break.

“The fact that we have been winning and everyone has been coming together at clutch moments has been great,” said outfielder Mallex Smith, who had a late solo home run in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Houston. “We’ve been jelling as a team. We’ve been feeding off one another. It seems like someone new coming through at the right time every day.”

Next for Tampa Bay is Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 4.08 ERA), who played for the Marlins from 2012 to 2014 and will almost certainly fare better than his only career appearance against his former team. In June 2015, he played there with the Yankees and gave up nine hits and eight earned runs in less than an inning, leaving after two outs with a 108.00 ERA to show for it.

Eovaldi has shown promise since returning from Tommy John surgery — his last start against Washington lasted six innings and he gave up no runs, one and and two walks with nine strikeouts.

The Marlins will answer with Wei-Yin Chen, who knows the Rays from his days with the Baltimore Orioles. He has started 21 career games against Tampa Bay, more than any other opponent, and posted a 5-6 record with a 3.72 ERA.

That’s considerably better than his overall numbers this year — he’s 2-5 with a 6.14 ERA, though his last start was solid. He limited Arizona to one run and five hits in six innings last week. Against Tampa Bay last year, he pitched well, holding the Rays to two runs and two hits in six innings.

The in-state rivals will meet again right after the All-Star break for three more games, but the extended run against lesser opponents is something the Rays must dominate if they want to get back into wild-card contention.

Even after winning eight of nine games, Tampa Bay is still 11 games behind Seattle for the second AL wild card. Still, being 42-41 after opening the season 1-8 isn’t bad, especially considering the injuries they’ve dealt with and the talent traded away since the end of last season.

Yovani Gallardo brings out the best in the Texas Rangers’ hitters. Good thing for him he is on their side.

Gallardo has enjoyed unusually strong run support since returning to the majors after a two-month stint with Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers averaged 11 runs per game in his three June starts, including an 11-3 thumping of the Chicago White Sox on Friday when they blasted five home runs.

Gallardo hopes he will continue to be a good luck charm when he starts the opener of a four-game series against the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday night.

“This is what they do Adidas T. J. Oshie Jersey ,” Gallardo told MLB.com and other reporters afterward. “This is the kind of offense we have here. It definitely makes it easier, but yet it is one of those things where you can’t allow it to get out of hand as well. You’ve just got to keep it tight in the strike zone and get some quick outs.”

Gallardo (2-0, 9.00 ERA) didn’t require an offensive explosion from his team against the White Sox, as he delivered his best outing of the season. He tossed 7 1/3 innings on just 90 pitches, giving up three runs on four hits and striking out seven.

“He was in control the whole time,” Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos told MLB.com. “I think he built from that last outing (5 1/3 innings) in Minnesota. It was the same thing; he’s throwing really well.”

Gallardo, who was released by Cincinnati in April, is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts against the Tigers, but he has not faced them since 2015.

He’ll be opposed by left-hander Matthew Boyd (4-6, 4.18), one of several Detroit pitchers who could be dealt this season.

Boyd has gone winless in his last four starts, though his last start was a quality outing at Toronto. He gave up three runs on four hits over six innings and posted seven strikeouts, his highest total since May 17.

The Rangers have given Boyd fits in the past. He is 1-4 with a 5.53 ERA in five career starts against them. Chirinos has homered twice against Boyd in seven career at-bats.

Detroit will try to bounce back from two road losses to the streaking Chicago Cubs, who have won six straight. The Tigers lost 5-2 on Wednesday, and manager Ron Gardenhire had to depart to the clubhouse early due to heat exhaustion. He is expected to be back in the Tigers dugout on Thursday.

“It’s frustrating to be right there, to be so close,” catcher James McCann told MLB.com. “But at the end of the day, that’s not reflected in your win-loss column. It’s either a win or a loss. We came up short two games in a row.”

The Tigers have lost 13 of their last 15 games, but they do have a hot hitter in Nicholas Castellanos, who has hit safely in 10 of the last 11 games. Castellanos smacked a solo homer and walked twice on Wednesday.

Texas’ Shin-Soo Choo has been swinging an even hotter bat. Choo has reached base in 44 consecutive games after getting two hits, including a homer, on Wednesday. The Rangers will have a quick turnaround after losing at home in extra innings to Houston 5-4 in that game.