BALTIMORE (AP) — Erasmo Ramirez threw three-hit ball over seven innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Saturday to end a six-game losing streak.
Steve Souza Jr. and Joey Butler homered for the Rays, who staked Ramirez to an early lead in a matchup of AL East clubs with struggling offenses.
Ramirez (3-2) struck out seven and walked one in his longest outing since last July. The right-hander allowed only one runner past first base in lowering his ERA from 6.62 to 5.53.
Tampa Bay starters have not allowed a run in the last 25 1-3 innings, but the bullpen was shaky during the six-game skid. In this one, however, Brandon Gomes worked a perfect eighth and Brad Boxberger got three straight outs for his 14th save.
Chen (1-4) gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings. It was the ninth time in 10 starts the left-hander permitted three earned runs or fewer, but he’s got only one win to show for it.
Baltimore has been blanked four times this season, three by the Rays. It was the eighth time in the last 15 games that the Orioles tallied two runs or fewer.
The Rays scored in each of the first three innings for a 3-0 lead. Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly in the first, Souza homered in the second and Butler connected in the third.
It was Souza’s ninth home run, the second in two games.
Limited to one hit through the first four innings, the Orioles were thwarted by the Tampa Bay defense in the fifth. With two outs, Butler rifled a strike from left field to catcher Rene Rivera that cut down Steve Clevenger, who was trying to score from second on a single by Ryan Flaherty.
Baltimore didn’t get another baserunner the rest of the way.
Rays: DH Tim Beckham left with a cramp his in his left hamstring. … LHP C.J. Riefenhauser (left shoulder inflammation) was reinstated from the DL and optioned to Triple-A Durham.
Orioles: CF Adam Jones was given a day off to rest a sore left ankle, an injury that occurred Thursday when he made an awkward slide into home. “Woke up this morning sore, a little swelling,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Rays: In the series finale Sunday, Jake Odorizzi will seek to go at least six innings in an 11th consecutive game. He’s got a 2.31 ERA but is 3-5 because of poor run support.
Orioles: Chris Tillman takes the mound for the Orioles, who wrap up a stretch in which they play 17 of 20 games at home. They’re 10-9 thus far.
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