The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t look like a last-place team when they took an early 3-0 lead tonight. The Orioles did look like a first-place team as they later rallied to win. For the Orioles tonight, they were no-hit early but that was no problem later.
Tampa Bay lefty Matt Moore retired the first 13 batters he faced before the Orioles got to him to rally for a 6-3 win in the opener of a four-game series in front of 44,956 at Camden Yards. That is the second sellout of the year. O’s reliever Ashur Tolliver tonight picked up his first major league victory.
The Orioles improved to 42-30 for the season, 28-13 at home, 4-2 versus Tampa Bay and 19-13 in games against the American League East. The Rays have lost eight straight to fall to 31-40.
The O’s busted out for four runs and the lead in the sixth. Adam Jones hit a solo homer to left with one out. His 14th of the year and ninth in the last 21 games made it a 3-2 game.
Singles by Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado and walk to Mark Trumbo loaded the bases for Davis. His two-run single made it 4-3, and the O’s got a third run on that play on an error. Second baseman Logan Forsythe made an errant throw and then Trumbo raced down the line for a 5-3 lead. Davis is now 2-for-3 with the bases loaded this year with six RBIs.
The Orioles added their sixth run on Machado’s solo homer to right in the eighth. In his first game back from serving a four-game suspension, Machado hit one 393 feet into the right-field stands for his 18th homer. The Orioles have hit 44 homers in their last 21 games.
Losers of seven in a row coming into tonight’s game, Tampa Bay got a fast start tonight versus O’s right-hander Yovani Gallardo. After Forsythe’s leadoff double that Joey Rickard seemed to misplay in right, a two-run homer by Corey Dickerson made it 2-0 as he hit No. 13. Evan Longoria followed with a double, Logan Morrison followed with an RBI single and the Rays led 3-0 four batters into the game.
But Gallardo would get it together and allow no more runs. Over 5 1/3 innings, he gave up seven hits and three runs on 96 pitches. He has allowed five runs over 10 1/3 innings since returning from the DL, and the Orioles are 4-2 in his six starts.
Tolliver got the last two outs of the top of the sixth. He became the pitcher of record after the O’s four-run frame that allowed him to record that first win. Three relievers followed him to the mound to hold that lead. Odrisamer Despaigne pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and Brad Brach a 1-2-3 eighth. AL saves leader Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 22nd save in 22 chances and his 95th career save.
These two teams play a day-night split doubleheader on Saturday. In Game 1 at 1:05 p.m., Kevin Gausman (0-5, 4.37 ERA) pitches against right-hander Matt Andriese (6-0, 2.88 ERA). In Game 2 at 7:05 p.m., Chris Tillman (10-1, 3.11 ERA) faces right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.63 ERA).