ST. PETERSBURG -- Tim Beckham's two-run single off Darren O'Day capped the Rays' three-run eighth and led Tampa Bay to a 3-1 win over the Orioles on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
"Beck has shown time and time again he's kind of got a flair for the big hit," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "When those situations arise, it seems like his level of play rises up along with it. That's a pretty good quality to have, especially for a young player. He's got a lot of confidence in himself to get it done and he keeps proving that he's capable of doing it."
The Rays trailed, 1-0, heading into the bottom of the eighth, but John Jaso came through with an RBI single and moved to third on Evan Longoria's single to center. James Loney was intentionally walked to load the bases for Beckham, who laced an 0-2 pitch into center field for the game-winning hit, sending the Orioles to their fourth consecutive defeat.
The Orioles' Chris Tillman continued his strong second half by going seven innings-plus, allowing one run on two hits, walking three and striking out four. Rays ace Chris Archer went the first six innings and allowed a run on five hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Chris Davis' double in the fourth drove home Manny Machado to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, but that was all the O's would get as a struggling Baltimore lineup went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
"Darren is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. I am not even going to attempt to critique. He's been solid, he was a pitch away from getting out of that," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose club has lost 15 of its last 20 games. "He got us back in the dugout. He's so much better than tonight. He gets many mulligans with us. The story is we just haven't scored any runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jaso knots it up: With two away in the eighth and Kevin Kiermaier standing on second after his 11th stolen base of the season, the Rays looked to be in danger of squandering another run-scoring opportunity, but on a 2-1 pitch, Jaso delivered a clutch hit up the middle that pushed across Kiermaier and drew Tampa Bay even with the Orioles at 1-1.
"I had a good read on [O'Day] and on that first pitch when he was facing [Steven Souza Jr.], I liked my chances," Kiermaier said. "Thankfully I got in there and then Jaso had that clutch two-out hit against O'Day [and it] was huge for us. It was an awesome win for us coming back like this. Things haven't been going well for us lately, but for us to prevail right there and get a win was absolutely huge. It might be the biggest win of the year."More >
Orioles keep sliding: The O's rough stretch was on full display as the offense -- which recorded its first lead since Sunday with Davis' fourth-inning double -- left seven men on base.
"We're just a couple hits away, a couple runs away, but it's just a part of the grind," Machado said. " We're going to be facing the best of the best from now on and we know this is where we're going to make it or break it here. We've just got to clean it up a little bit, go out there and do better with runners in scoring position and our part."
O'Day -- who is having an All-Star season -- allowed two runs for just the second time this season and first since April 24.
"I made some good pitches," said O'Day, who took his first loss since September 19, 2014. "Made a couple really bad pitches. The one to Jaso was pretty bad and the one to Beckham, 0-2, I have to be better than that. Can't leave anything close to the zone where he can win the game like that."
Tillman deserved a better fate: After a tough first half in which he pitched to a 5.40 ERA in 17 games, Tillman has started the second half with two fantastic starts and been a bright spot for the O's. The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Tillman exited after a leadoff eighth-inning walk to Kiermaier, who came around to score on Jaso's two-out, game-tying single. It snapped a career-high 16-inning scoreless stretch for Tillman.
"I'm just executing better and when I do get in trouble I'm able to make a pitch to get out of it," Tillman said of his recent surge. "It's been there for a while now, just kind of carried over from the last couple starts from the first half and we are taking advantage of it." More >
Crucial twin-killing: The Orioles had already scored once in the fourth and had runners at the corners with one out when Travis Snider grounded to Archer, who dodged Snider's broken bat, then fielded the ball and threw to second to start an inning-ending 1-6-3 double-play, preventing the big inning from taking place.
"Bottom line, we just have to score some more runs. We aren't giving our pitchers any margin for error. It's very easy to sit in an ivory tower and critique that, but those guys are very good pitchers. It's not easy." -- Showalter, on his struggling offense
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Friday's game marked the first time this season the Orioles had lost when leading after seven innings. They had been 39-0. The O's hadn't lost a game when leading after seven innings since July 23, 2014.
In the top of the seventh inning, the lights above Tropicana Field began flickering after thunder was heard outside the stadium. Seconds later, a bank of lights alongside the left-field line went out, causing the umpires to discuss whether play should continue. After a short delay, home-plate umpire John Tumpane decided that play would continue.
Both benches were warned in the top of the eighth inning after Rays reliever Alex Colome hit Machado with a high and tight fastball near his head. Machado didn't take kindly to the hit-by-pitch and umpire Tumpane stepped in before things escalated.
Orioles: Baltimore will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound on Saturday in the 6:10 p.m. ET game against the Rays. Gonzalez is 8-6 with a 4.21 ERA on the season..
Rays:Erasmo Ramirez (8-3, 3.54) will make his 15th start of the season. He has allowed two runs or fewer in his last nine starts (since May 30). Since April 19, he has gone 8-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 19 appearances (13 starts). He is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four career appearances against the Orioles.