Tampa Bay Sports Day

RAYS: Tampa Bay Beats Orioles on the Road, 5-2

BALTIMORE –– The Tampa Bay Rays started this road trip with three losses to the Yankees in New York, but played much better since.

Richie Shaffer hit a tie-breaking double in the sixth inning, Mikie Mahtook added a two-run single and Evan Longoria homered for the third time in three nights as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Saturday night.

The loss dropped the Orioles (81-67) three games behind Boston (84-64) in the American League East as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 6-5 earlier in the day. Baltimore, though, was tied with Toronto in the wild-card race — three games ahead of Seattle — entering Saturday.

Tampa Bay (64-84) has won five of seven on the road since that trio of New York losses. Since the Rays already have been eliminated from playoff contention, that strong effort has pleased manager Kevin Cash.

“I can’t say enough about how the guys have bounced back and really played solid baseball since those (first) three days,” Cash said. “I was happy with the way the guys came back (tonight). We were down 2-0, but we came back.”

Shaffer was recently recalled from Triple-A Durham and didn’t have a homer or an RBI until he hit a two-run blast Friday. His hit Saturday was the key in a two-run inning that gave the Rays the lead they never lost.

“I had another opportunity with a guy in scoring position,” Shaffer said. “It just came down to just being patient and trying to find a pitch that you know that you can handle.”

Baltimore took a 2-1 lead in the sixth but Longoria led off with a solo homer to left-center. Shaffer lined his double that brought in Brad Miller with the go-ahead run.

The homer also set a Tampa Bay record for most by a right-handed hitter in one season (35). It came right after he nearly homered on a foul ball to deep left field.

“(Chris Tillman) throws kind of a ball that rides so I was just kind of trying to stay out in front and on top,” Longoria said. “The one that I hit out was down a little bit more and a little bit more away from me. Just taking advantage of those pitches I should hit.”

The Rays added two more in the eighth when Mahtook greeted right-hander Mychal Givens with a two-run bloop single to right that gave Tampa Bay a 5-2 lead.

Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese (8-7) earned his second straight victory after going nearly three months without one. He gave up two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings and left with a 3-2 lead.

Alex Colome took care of the ninth and got his 34th save.  Tillman (16-6) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings during this start. He struck out six but struggled with his command at times.

“I thought it went OK,” Tillman said. “I feel like we did a pretty good job throughout, making pitches when we needed to. Just a couple swings beat us. They threw the ball better.”

The Orioles took an early lead thanks to two sacrifice flies. Manny Machado hit one in the first to score Adam Jones, and Hyun Soo Kim did the same in the third, bringing in J.J. Hardy for a 2-0 lead.

Tampa Bay homered in the first inning in six consecutive games against the Orioles — with Longoria doing it the past two nights and three times overall — but the streak ended.

Longoria cut the lead to 2-1 when he tripled with one out in the fourth and scored on a Brad Miller fielder’s choice, beating Chris Davis’ throw home after a grounder to first.

Now, the Orioles need to rebound on Sunday as they are locked into the playoff battle.

“Our guys will show up and compete their butt off,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll do what needs to be done, and if it leads to a win, so be it. Our guys understand.”

GAME NOTES: Orioles DH/OF Mark Trumbo remained out of the lineup for a second straight day with back spasms, but manager Buck Showalter said the slugger is improving. Trumbo said before the game he feels much better. … RHP Darren O’Day could be getting closer to coming back to the team. He has been on the disabled list for more than a month (rotator cuff strain), but Showalter said he appeared OK on Saturday after a simulated game Friday. If that holds, then the team will decide on his status Sunday or Monday. … IF/OF Nick Franklin remained out with a strained hamstring. He left Thursday’s game with the injury and remains day-to-day. … OF Mikie Mahtook getting thrown out at home to end Friday’s game was the second time in club history the Rays had the tying run thrown out at the plate for the last out