3-run first inning helps O's cruise past Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Orioles struck quickly and pushed across three runs in the first off Rays starter Matt Moore to set the tone and cruised to a 5-2 victory in the rubber match against Tampa Bay on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
J.J. Hardy got the offense going when he drove home Chris Davis with a two-out single and one pitch later, Nolan Reimold doubled to left to bring around two more runs. The Orioles then tacked on two more in the fourth when Caleb Joseph launched his seventh home run of the season over the left-field fence.
"We keep talking about it. You can't wallow around in self-pity. There's too many challenges," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club bouncing back to record a series win after being swept in New York against the Yankees. "This team has been as consistent as anybody in our division, so if you come in here with any woe is me, you're going to get it handed to you. We won two of the three series played on the road."
Wei-Yin Chen got the win for the Orioles, giving up two runs -- off back-to-back home runs by Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe -- on six hits while striking out three over 5 1/3 innings. Moore, who was making his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery, earned the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings.
The Rays had their chances to get back in the ballgame, but stranded eight men on base -- four of which were left in scoring position.
"We had some crucial situations where we could have really closed the gap or possibly get the lead and we just didn't get it done," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The loss represents the Rays' 21st in the last 30 games, as well as their eighth series loss in their last nine. Over that span, they have scored only 87 runs (2.9 runs per game) while batting .220 (216-for-982).
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Let it fly: The Rays have grown accustomed to taking Chen deep over the course of his career. Longoria and Forsythe's home runs in the fourth inning marked the fifth and sixth time that Tampa Bay has hit balls out of the ballpark against him this season. In 17 career starts against the Rays, Chen has surrendered 16 home runs, the most he's allowed to any club.
Orioles keep offense going: A night removed from scoring five runs for just the second time in 14 games, Baltimore's bats jumped on Moore early on Sunday. After a three-run first, highlighted by Reimold's two-run double, Joseph's two-run homer in the fourth gave the O's a little more breathing room. More >
Leave 'em loaded: Trailing by three in the fifth, the Rays were in prime position to get back into the game after a Tim Beckham double, Jake Elmore single and Brandon Guyer hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Steven Souza Jr. worked a full count, but was called out on a strike that he thought was low. Then, Longoria followed with a groundout to third baseman Manny Machado that ended the inning.
"I press too much in those [bases loaded] situations," Souza Jr. said. "It's unfortunate. I try to talk myself out of it. I felt like I did a good job of calming down in that situation and not trying to do too much, but it's a habit I need to break. One hit right there drives in two runs, and I feel like I need to hit a grand slam. That's not OK." More >
Chen streak snapped: The lefty, who retired 11 straight to start the game, held the Rays to back-to-back homers, but couldn't make it out of the sixth. It snapped a stretch of six consecutive quality starts for Chen.
"In the first couple innings I felt great and I was just trying to stay the same pace," Chen said through his interpreter. "But later on I think the Rays' hitters made some adjustment and hit better and better against me." More >
Orioles: Baltimore will head home to take on the Atlanta Braves and former Oriole Nick Markakis on Monday night. Kevin Gausman (1-2, 5.18 ERA) will start for the O's against Braves lefty Alex Wood in the 7:05 ET contest.
Rays: After tossing five shutout innings and providing the only run of the game with a third-inning home run on Tuesday against the Phillies, Nate Karns (5-5, 3.47 ERA) will return to American League competition to make his first career start against the Tigers on Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Since April 27, the right-hander is 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA.
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