ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Lowe hit a three-run homer in a five-run first inning and the Tampa Bay Rays tied a team record with their 11th consecutive home win, beating the Baltimore Orioles 8-3 on Sunday.
Tampa Bay also won 11 in a row at Tropicana Field during the 2008 AL pennant-winning season.
The Rays have won 16 of 19 overall, and outscored the Orioles 32-10 in a three-game sweep. They started play eight games behind Oakland for the second AL wild card and have 20 games remaining.
Another bad first inning doomed the Orioles. Baltimore (41-102), which allowed four runs in the first of Saturday’s 10-5 loss to the Rays, has been outscored 115-61 during the inning this season.
After the Orioles failed to score despite drawing three walks from Ryne Stanek in the top of the first, the Rays took control in their half on C.J. Cron’s RBI double, an RBI single by Willy Adames and Lowe’s three-run shot off Josh Rogers (1-2).
Yonny Chirinos (4-5) replaced Stanek with two on and one out in the first and kept Baltimore scoreless until Jace Peterson drove in a pair with a triple in a three-run seventh. The right-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Tampa Bay went ahead 6-0 in the second when Mallex Smith got his 31st stolen base by swiping home on a double steal. It was the first steal of home by the Rays since Desmond Jennings did it against the New York Yankees on July 3, 2012.
Rogers, acquired in the July 24 trade that sent reliever Zach Britton to the New York Yankees, allowed six runs and six hits over 1 1 /3 innings in his third career start.
Carlos Gomez made it 7-0 with a solo homer in the sixth. His lone homer over his previous 65 games came off a position player, Minnesota’s Willians Astudillo, on July 14.
RF Adam Jones was out of the lineup for the third consecutive game as Baltimore takes a look at recently acquired players and minor league call-ups. Jones, a free agent after this season, will likely start Tuesday night against Oakland following Monday’s day off.
Orioles: RHP Alex Cobb, scratched from his scheduled start Sunday due to a blister on his throwing hand, is set to pitch Tuesday.
Rays: OF Tommy Pham, slowed by a groin strain, was the designated hitter and extended his hitting streak to a career-high tying 13 games on a second-inning single.
The Orioles have been swept 18 times in completed series’ of two or more games.
Orioles: Cobb (5-15) will face Oakland RHP Mike Fiers (11-6) Tuesday night in the first of a three-game series in Baltimore. Cobb is 3-1 over his last seven starts, allowing two or fewer runs in six of them.
Rays: Will face Cleveland ace Cory Kluber (18-7), who will be seeking a major league-leading 19th win. Tampa Bay has not announced its starter.
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