By Brittany Ghiroli and Troy Provost-Heron
MLB.com |@Britt_Ghiroli |
ST. PETERSBURG -- Led by Chris Davis' grand slam, the Orioles snapped a four-game losing streak with Saturday's 5-1 series-evening victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Davis, who collected his 22nd homer of the year, gave a struggling Baltimore lineup a lift with his one-out, third-inning blast off Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez. David Lough also tripled and scored in the eighth to back Os starter Miguel Gonzalez's stellar outing.
"It was pretty big," Davis said of his homer, "Especially with the way Miguel's been throwing the ball against these guys. Everybody that inning did a great job of not trying to do too much, just taking what Ramirez gave them."
Gonzalez held Tampa Bay to one run -- Curt Casali's eighth-inning solo homer -- over 7 2/3 innings. Ramirez went 7 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits.
"Gonzalez has got our number apparently," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I mean, obviously he's a good pitcher … He just continues to mix speeds and throw well-located pitches that we just have trouble with."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gonzalez deals: The O's righty turned in his longest outing since May 29, holding the Rays to five hits and no walks. Gonzalez struck out five in the 107-pitch outing and has a 0.93 ERA in five starts against Tampa Bay.
"I think there's times that you are going to have your ups and downs and you just have to go out there and minimize it," Gonzalez said. "We've pitched well here, attacking guys and staying ahead -- that's what helped me get to the eighth inning."
Costly mistake: Ramirez cruised through two innings, but in the third the Orioles got to the reliable right-hander, loading the bases with three singles and then unloading them with Davis' grand slam. From there, though, Ramirez rebounded and retired 14 of the next 18 batters he faced as he pitched a season-high 7 1/3 innings.
"Erasmo was really good again," Cash said. "He had one inning where they clumped a couple hits against him and then the big one from Davis. Probably not the guy you want to see coming up with the bases lead because you know the potential of him hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but sometimes that's the way it goes. More >
Davis' slam: Davis delivered his fifth career grand slam and his first of the season to give the Orioles some much-needed early offense. The O's first baseman has 29 RBIs in 30 career games at Tropicana Field, his most in any opposing ballpark.
"I think it gives you a little bit of breathing room and allows the pitching staff and the defense to go out and relax a little bit," Davis said of the O's early 4-0 lead. "Obviously, when you score you want to keep scoring and you don't want to stop or slow down, but I think we did a great job tonight of having good at bats, making them work and taking advantage of opportunities to score." More >
Not many opportunities: Hitting with runners in scoring position has been an issue for the Rays as of late, but on Saturday, they didn't get many chances to drive runners in. Evan Longoria delivered a two-out double in the first, but was quickly stranded there after a James Loney fly out. From there, the Rays only got one other runner into scoring position when John Jaso doubled in the sixth.
"Baseball is a crazy game," Casali said. "There's highs and lows, and obviously we've had some highs this season, particularly in the beginning part. Most teams go through something like this. People can say what they want about the depth of our lineup, but I'm not buying that. We have Major League hitters on this team and we are going to continue to grind it out and sneak out wins however we can."
"I think it was kind of a relief. We haven't been putting up too many runs, but to be able to do that and get a good cushion, a good lead, I think it definitely made us more calm." -- Lough, on Davis' homer.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rays have scored four runs or fewer in each of their last 12 games (30 runs total), which is the second-longest streak in club history. The club's longest streak, which was set from Sept. 3-22, 2000, is 17 games.
Rays:Matt Moore (1-1, 7.23 ERA) will take the mound in the series finale on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. In eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Orioles, he is 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA, but allowed a career-high 12 hits and nine runs against them in his most recent outing vs. Baltimore.
Orioles: Lefty Wei-Yin Chen will take the mound for the O's as they cap a three-city, nine-game road trip. Chen has been the ace of Baltimore's staff and is 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA on the season.