BALTIMORE (AP)Randy Arozarena hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Tampa Bays Rays continued their dominance over the Baltimore Orioles with a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
The AL East leaders improved to 17-1 against the Orioles this year, including 10 comeback wins. The Rays have beaten Baltimore 11 straight times.
”We’ve done a good job coming back late,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”We’ve done a good job adding runs late in games. You do notice in the dugout the guys stay consistent with their mentality.”
The Rays trailed 3-2 in the eighth before reliever Cole Sulser (3-3) walked Kevin Kiermaier on five pitches and then allowed the two-run shot by Arozarena, who has hit eight of his 17 home runs against Baltimore this season.
”We’re a very aggressive team,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. ”We never stop until that last out is made. We’re a very dedicated team and we’re out here to win every single time so we can make our way into the playoffs.”
The Rays have outscored the Orioles 51-12 in the seventh inning or later, and 38-6 at Camden Yards.
Reliever JT Chargois (4-0) pitched a scoreless seventh and Andrew Kittredge picked up his fourth save.
Tampa Bay starter Michael Wacha allowed a leadoff double to Pedro Severino and walked No. 9 hitter Kelvin Gutierrez in the fifth, ending his night. Reliever Adam Conley hit Cedric Mullins to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Mountcastle gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles scored twice more in the sixth when Austin Hays led off with a pinch-hit triple and scored on a double by Severino. Jorge Mateo followed with a run-scoring single for a 3-0 lead.
Left-hander John Means has been one of Baltimore’s most reliable starters. He was dominant before allowing a single to Yandy Diaz and a double to Brandon Lowe that finished him with one out in the seventh.
”That seventh inning, I’ve got to be able to shut the door, especially after scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth,” Means said. ”That shutdown inning is so important and I just couldn’t get the job done.”
Dillon Tate entered and allowed an RBI grounder by Austin Meadows and a run-scoring double to Joey Wendle that cut the margin to 3-2.
”We often get good matchups late in games because of the way our roster is built,” Wendle said. ”We all have a lot of confidence in each other.”
Rays: OF Jordan Luplow Luplow (left ankle strain) was reinstated from the IL. ”It’s nice to have his bat against left-handed pitching,” Cash said. In a corresponding move, RHP Chris Mazza, ??who pitched the last three innings for his first save on Friday night, was optioned to Triple-A Durham. Mazza gave up just one run in 6 1/3 innings over his three appearances.
Orioles: LHP Bruce Zimmermann is still dealing with a sprained ankle injury and could only get one or two starts for the remainder of the season, manager Brandon Hyde said.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (0-1, 4.26 ERA) says he’s fully healthy after leaving in the second inning with a hip issue in his last start against the Yankees on Sunday. It was Archer’s first appearance in the majors since April 10 after being sidelined with a forearm injury.
Orioles: RHP Spenser Watkins (2-6, 7.07 ERA) has allowed 30 runs and 42 hits over his last six starts – a 7.07 ERA in 25 ? innings.
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