O's rally vs. Rays to keep heat on in races

O's rally vs. Rays to keep heat on in races

The Orioles mounted a late rally Friday night, scoring three times after the sixth inning in a 5-4 victory over the Rays that helped them remain tied with the Blue Jays atop the American League Wild Card standings and two games back of the AL East-leading Red Sox.

Zach Britton picked up his 44th save of the season to remain perfect, but it didn't come without drama. Alexei Ramirez lined a ball down the left-field line with two outs, and Mikie Mahtook attempted to score from first. Mahtook was thrown out at the plate on a relay for the final out of the game. The Rays challenged, and the call was confirmed.

"It was just a great play all around by Manny Machado on the throw and Matt Wieters with the tag," Britton said. "He does that probably better than anybody in the game [with] that tag right there, and that was huge."

Must C: O's relay secures win

Ubaldo Jimenez gave up two-run homers in the first and second innings to put the O's in a 4-0 hole, but they slowly chipped away before Hyun Soo Kim cut the deficit to a run in the seventh inning on a long RBI single with the bases loaded. Baltimore then capitalized on Brad Boxberger's wildness in the eighth inning. The Rays reliever walked the first two batters of the inning and hit another to load the bases. J.J. Hardy recorded an infield single and Michael Bourn contributed a sacrifice fly to give the Orioles their first lead of the night in the bottom of the eighth.

"It was the most exciting game that I've played this year, and I expect that there's more coming," Kim said. "So I'll enjoy every bit of it."

Kim's peculiar RBI single

Evan Longoria hit the first of the Rays' two homers, a two-run shot in the first inning and his 34th of the season, a new career high. Richie Shaffer added his first of the season an inning later. Pedro Alvarez and Chris Davis went deep for the Orioles to cut into the deficit and help set the stage for the late-inning comeback.

Jimenez overcame the early home runs to go seven innings. Rays starter Chris Archer allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings and didn't factor into the decision.

"We're playing some entertaining ballgames," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We came up short today, but I love the way the guys continue to go out there and battle. Britton is arguably one of the frontrunners for the Cy Young, and we just gave him quite a fight right there."

Farquhar keeps rolling: Danny Farquhar added another two-thirds of an inning of scoreless relief, giving the right-hander 11 consecutive scoreless appearances. He had to escape a bit of a hot spot to do so, though. Two were aboard when he replaced Archer with one out in the seventh. He hit the first batter he faced, Adam Jones, to load the bases. Kim then hit a deep ball to center field that Kevin Kiermaier kept from clearing the fence before the ball fell out of his glove. Farquhar regrouped to strike out Machado and Davis to end the threat. He has a 1.35 ERA and 30 strikeouts since his Aug. 6 recall.

Farquhar strands bases loaded

Overcoming missed chances: The Orioles had a chance to take the lead in the seventh after Kim's single with the bases still loaded and just one out, but Machado and Davis both struck out swinging. Baltimore got another shot with the bases loaded an inning later, and though they recorded just one hit, they were able to push across the two runs they needed. Hardy beat out a grounder into the hole between third base and short, and Bourn sent a ball deep enough into left field for pinch-runner Nolan Reimold to hustle home with the go-ahead run.

"We had opportunities again tonight, and that was the game tonight that we really needed to win," Wieters said. "We had to try and scratch and fight. Boxberger's tough. He's got two pitches where you've got to pick which one to hit. We were able to get two runs that inning." More >

Hardy's game-tying RBI single

Shaffer gets on the board: Shaffer struggled at Triple-A Durham for most of 2016, a year after having a banner season for the Bulls. The slugger, whom the Rays selected in the first round of the 2012 Draft, is in the midst of his third stint with the Rays this season, but not until Friday night had he gone deep for the big league squad. Shaffer's blast came against Jimenez in the second inning with a man aboard to put the Rays up 4-0.

Shaffer's two-run home run

Finding his rhythm: After allowing the homer to Shaffer, Jimenez settled down and retired 12 of the next 13 batters. When he surrendered two long balls in the first two frames -- his first start of the season with two homers allowed -- it seemed to have the makings for a short outing. But Jimenez began keeping the ball down in the strike zone, frequently inducing soft groundouts as he held the Rays scoreless after the second inning, setting down 10 straight at one point.

"I was able to get my sinker down in the zone," Jimenez said of the difference after the second inning. "I already had all the breaking balls working. The first two innings, I didn't have the breaking ball working."

Jimenez fans Shaffer

"I'm glad I prevented a huge inning right there. But at the same time, the competitive side of me is aggravated I didn't come up with the catch."
-- Kiermaier, on his near catch of Kim's drive in the seventh

"It was one of those games, at the end of the season, if we get to where we're looking for, it's one of those games that you can point out: What was the game that made the difference? This one was an amazing game." -- Jimenez

The Rays challenged the final out of the game, but the call was confirmed and there was not a violation of the home plate collision rule. Cash said they were challenging the entire play.

"From our view, right when it happened, it looked like he was out," Cash said. "But you never know where the footing of the catcher starts. Obviously, they got it right."

Rays: Matt Andriese will start on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET hoping to improve on his last appearance against the Orioles, which took place on Sept. 5 at Tropicana Field. The right-hander allowed five runs in the fifth inning of that game and came away with his seventh loss of the season. Andriese will be backed up by Chase Whitley, who could make his second appearance since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Orioles: After a pair of poor starts to begin the series, Baltimore turns to Opening Day starter Chris Tillman (16-5, 3.68 ERA) on Saturday. The righty matched his career high with his 16th victory his last time out, holding the Tigers to one run over six innings. It was his first start back after landing on the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis. Tillman's already beaten the Rays three times this year.

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Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.