ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The struggling Tampa Bay Rays needed a lift, and Tim Beckham was ecstatic to provide it.
The rookie shortstop pointed to the dugout as he sprinted up the first base line after lashing a two-out, bases-loaded single that snapped an eighth-inning tie and lifted his team to a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
The sputtering Rays rallied after being limited to two hits over seven innings by Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who came within six outs of winning his sixth straight decision before walking Kevin Kiermaier leading off the eighth.
Kiermaier stole second and raced home on John Jaso’s two-out single off reliever Darren O’Day (5-1) to make it 1-1. Evan Longoria followed with a bloop single and James Loney was walked intentionally before Beckham singled up the middle.
“We needed that,” manager Kevin Cash said after the Rays won for just ninth time in 28 games.
Beckham received a Gatorade bath leaving the field. He hopes his teammates haven’t doused his good fortune.
“I thought about my shoes. My shoes were soaking wet. Been playing pretty good in those shoes,” said the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft. “It’s a superstition thing. I want to keep it going. … It feels great to contribute to it.”
Alex Colome (4-4) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jake McGee worked the ninth for his fifth save.
The Orioles, meanwhile, lost for the first time this season when leading after seven innings.
“Tilly was the reason we stayed in the ball game. One run doesn’t do it very often,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s very easy to sit in an ivory tower and critique (the pitching), but the bottom line is we need to score runs.”
Tillman picked up where he left off from a stellar performance at Detroit last weekend, walking three and striking out four while frustrating Tampa Bay most of the night.
Chris Davis gave Tillman all the offensive support it looked like the right-hander might need with a RBI double in the fourth off All-Star Chris Archer (9-8), who allowed one run and five hits over six innings.
The Orioles were 39-0 when leading after seven innings, but couldn’t finish the Rays, who were coming off losing two of three at Philadelphia, which has the worst record in the majors.
Baltimore has lost four straight after getting swept by the first-place New York Yankees.
“(Tillman) put us in a good spot and I didn’t get my job done,” O’Day said. “It would have been a nice win tonight against one of the best pitchers in the American League. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Tillman yielded a leadoff single to Ian Kinsler and walked Victor Martinez in the first inning before finishing a one-hit, eight-inning outing by retiring the last 23 batters he faced in a 3-0 victory at Detroit last Saturday. He fanned the first two Rays and extended his streak to 28 consecutive hitters before walking David DeJesus with two outs in the second.
Longoria doubled down the right-field line for the first hit off the Tillman, who also walked Beckham before escaping a jam in the fourth. Kiermaier bunted for a single in the fifth, but was stranded when Rene Rivera struck out and Steven Souza Jr. grounded to third to end the inning.
Orioles: INF-OF Steve Pearce (strained left oblique), placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to July 19, had an MRI exam that showed inflammation. Manager Buck Showalter said it’s iffy that Pearce will be ready when eligible to come off the DL early next month.
Rays: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (right hamstring) said he was at 80 percent during his first-base running session. … OF Desmond Jennings (left knee) ran and took batting practice with Cabrera.
HIGH AND TIGHT
Tillman hit Beckham with a pitch leading off the seventh, so plate umpire John Tumpane warned both benches in the eighth when Colome plunked Manny Machado, the second batter the reliever faced.
McGee, who began the season on the disabled list following elbow surgery, extended his string of scoreless appearances to 21. It’s one of five scoreless streaks of at least 20 games in the majors this year.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) faces the Rays for the fourth time this season. He’s allowed one run in 15 2-3 innings over the past two starts against Tampa Bay.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (8-3) has all of his wins joining the rotation for good on May 14.
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)