ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The long ball did in the Baltimore Orioles.
Jerry Sands, Yunel Escobar and Ryan Hanigan homered Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles 5-4.
“Had a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
Sands’ first homer since Sept. 20, 2011, a two-run, pinch-hit shot off Brian Matusz, snapped a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning. Escobar hit a solo homer in the first and Hanigan added a two-run drive in the fourth for a 3-0 lead against Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen.
Adam Jones homered for the second straight day for Baltimore, hitting a two-run shot in the sixth off rookie Jake Odorizzi, who allowed two runs and three hits over 5 1/3 innings. Delmon Young had a pinch-hit homer in the ninth off Juan Carlos Oviedo, who got the last three outs for his first save.
Sands went deep on a 2-0 pitch after Matusz replaced Darren O’Day (2-1), who departed with a runner on and two outs.
“Anytime you get behind in the count to any professional hitter it’s not a very good start,” Matusz said. “Then to follow it up with a fastball right down the middle, you put yourself in trouble. I didn’t make a pitch when we needed it.”
Sands drove in the winning run in Tampa Bay’s victory at Houston on Sunday.
“We’ve been struggling to get some wins here lately,” Sands said. “It’s fun to be the guy that does it for the team.”
The Orioles had just tied it in the top of the eighth with a run charged to Grant Balfour, loading the bases with two singles and a walk before Nelson Cruz delivered an RBI infield single.
Baltimore nearly took the lead when pinch-hitter Steve Pearce lined a pitch down the left field line, but the ball landed foul. Two pitches later, he grounded into a force play, letting Jake McGee (3-0) off the hook.
“It’s such a fine line,” Showalter said. “Stevie’s ball barely misses the chalk line there. Of course McGee is one the better relief pitchers in the league. Our guys have been doing a good job out of the pen too. It’s frustrating.”
The Orioles announced before the game that two-time All-Star catcher Matt Wieters, who hasn’t played since May 10, will have season-ending surgery on his right elbow. Showalter said the team is hopeful Wieters, who was examined Monday by Dr. James Andrews, will be ready for opening day next year.
Odorizzi allowed Hardy’s single and a walk with two outs in the second, escaping the jam by fanning Ryan Flaherty. The 24-year-old right-hander retired eight straight after walking Nick Markakis in the third, with the Orioles right fielder interrupting the string with a double leading off the sixth.
Markakis had two hits to move pass Ken Singleton into sixth place on the team all-time hits list with 1,456.
Jones hit his 12th homer one out later, ending Odorizzi’s night and trimming Baltimore’s deficit to 3-2. He has six homers in 15 games this month.
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed before the game in honor of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who died Monday. … The Orioles plan to activate RHP Miguel Gonzalez (strained right oblique) from the 15-day DL to start Tuesday night’s game against Tampa Bay LHP Erik Bedard. Both are 3-4 this season. … Showalter agrees with Rays manager Joe Maddon that a team shouldn’t lose a replay challenge when the contested call stands instead of being confirmed. “A great idea,” Showalter said. “He’s right. A lot of times they just say there’s nothing conclusive. You may be right, but we can’t overturn it. So, why should you be penalized for that?”