O's bats back strong Chen to edge Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Backed by a stellar seven innings from Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles edged the Rays, 2-1, on Saturday night at Tropicana Field for their eighth win in 11 games.
Chen held Tampa Bay to one run, striking out seven en route to his 10th victory of the season. After Richie Shaffer doubled in a run in the first, Chen cruised for the next five frames, stranding a pair of runners in his seventh and final frame.
"He's been very consistent and very athletic," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Chen, who has double-digit wins in three of four seasons with Baltimore. "This was impressive. Everybody knows what he's going to do. He's going to throw 70 percent fastballs and attack you with it."
Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez, coming off a no-hit bid that was spoiled in the eighth against the Yankees, also went seven innings and took the tough loss. Ramirez gave up a pair of runs -- both driven in by Adam Jones -- with an RBI single in the sixth the difference.
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Chen impresses: The lefty allowed six hits and turned in his career-high 19th quality start of the season.
"Of course I am happy I can have that number, but still, we've got a couple games left in the season, and I hope I can push that number up," Chen said through his interpreter.
Chen threw 101 pitches, 67 for strikes, and is just six innings shy of last year's regular-season total as he continues to be the Orioles' most consistent starter.
Brandon breaks out: Brandon Guyer wasted little time putting an end to an 0-for-17 skid, singling sharply to center in the first inning to lead things off for the Rays. Guyer, who would score when Shaffer followed with an RBI double, went 1-for-2 on the night and is now hitting .307 (27-for-88) in 31 career games against the Orioles. The Rays' left fielder also set the team's single-season hit-by-pitch record (19) when he was plunked by a 2-2 Chen fastball in the third.
Interference goes O's way: Pinch-runner Mikie Mahtook looked as if he had stolen second base in the eighth inning, but batter Evan Longoria hit catcher Matt Wieters with his backswing, and the play was ruled as interference as Longoria also crossed the plate.
"I knew it was going to be, worst-case [scenario], he was going to go back to first because I knew there was contact," Wieters said. "I just couldn't tell whether it was over the plate and contact or just a backswing."
Longoria was called out, and Mahtook had to return to first. Wieters nabbed him on his second try for the steal, ending the inning and keeping the O's out in front. More >
Effectively Erasmo: The Rays' right-hander made it 2-for-2 in quality starts, following up Monday's gem against the Yankees with an impressive performance vs. the Birds. For the week, the 25-year-old righty allowed two earned runs on 10 hits in 14 2/3 innings of work with 10 strikeouts and two walks -- without recording a win. Ramirez has now received run support of one or fewer in eight (of 25) starts this season, posting an 0-5 mark with a 4.53 ERA across those outings.
"Erasmo was very good again … even when we took him out, he had a relatively low pitch count. He gets a lot of swings early. I think that's a credit to the way he's pitched throughout the year," said Rays manager Kevin Cash.
"Everybody gets to see the kickoff of the Alabama game, that's what's important. … It's good. We're hanging in there. We're trying to do what we can do to get back into this thing. I know we're not figuring into a lot of people's mindsets, but that clubhouse isn't [giving up]." -- Showalter, on the quick, crisp win
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Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a fourth-inning single. The Rays have played 85 games decided by two runs or fewer (41-44) this year, most in the Majors.
Orioles: Kevin Gausman will get the start for Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Rays. The right-hander is 3-6 with a 4.15 ERA on the season. He threw six scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Monday.
Rays: Jake Odorizzi (8-8, 3.26 ERA) will take the ball for the Rays on Sunday in the series finale with the Orioles. The 25-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts against the O's this year, holding Baltimore batters to a .196 average. Odorizzi notched a victory against the Yankees on Tuesday, allowing three earned runs on three hits -- including two home runs -- in six innings at the Trop.
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