The first place Baltimore Orioles took three out of four from the Tampa Bay Rays and got back to their winning ways as they march toward post season play as the leaders of the American League East Division.
Baltimore finished the series with a record of (76-56) allowing them to maintain a seven game lead over the second place New York Yankees with thirty games remaining in the regular season.
The Birds began the series with a 9-1 clobbering of the Rays. The game featured a bit of history as the Orioles hit back to back homers in the third inning and back to back to back homers in the fifth inning for the first time since they moved to Baltimore.
Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce did the damage in the third and Delmon Young, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis did them one better in the fifth. Young led the way at the plate with a three-run homer, a double, single and a walk.
Starter Chris Tillman (11-5) shut down the Rays going seven innings with two strikeouts and two walks. He helped his team get back on track as the Birds were swept in a three game set at Wrigley Field against the Chicage Cubs.
The second game of the series saw the O’s win 4-2. Down 1-0, catcher Caleb Joseph hit a two-out two-run fourth inning single. Then with the score tied at 2 in the sixth inning, second baseman Jonathan Schoop knocked a go ahead single to give the Birds the lead.
Starter Wei-Yin Chen struggled and lasted only 4.2 innings. He had two walks, no strikeouts but only allowed two earned runs. Three Baltimore relievers kept the Rays guessing at the plate and closer Zach Britton came on to record his 28 save of the year.
The third game went to the Rays 3-1. Baltimore managed only two hits, one being the 23rd home run for Davis.
Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman (7-6) only lasted four innings, striking out four with no walks. He now has a 3.84 ERA.
Game four of the series, a 5-4 win for Baltimore was a gift from Tampa Bay. With the Rays ahead 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Orioles loaded the bases. With one out, Davis hit what appeared to be an inning ending double play ball, but the throw to first was off the mark allowing the Orioles to score two runs and tie the score at 4-4.
Shortstop Hardy then got the game winning single in the seventh inning, knocking in Nelson Cruz from second. Britton came in to record his 29 save in 32 chances.
The game also featured a Jones steal of home to tie the game at 2-2 in the first inning. It was the first steal of home for Baltimore since 2009.
Starter Bud Norris (11-8) fought through six innings, striking out five while walking two. He allowed four earned runs but kept his team in the game. He now has a 4.00 ERA.