Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Tampa Bay
W: G. Balfour (6-2) L: R. Cherry (0-3)
S: D. Wheeler (12)
HR: TB - None   BAL - None

Rays reduce AL East magic number to four with win over O's

CBSSports.com wire reports

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays had just beaten the Baltimore Orioles, and all the televisions in the clubhouse were tuned to the game between Boston and Cleveland.

That's right, the once-lowly Rays are in a pennant race. They're scoreboard-watching, checking out the competition on TV and doing their part to make their first trip to the playoffs as AL East champions.

Jason Bartlett had two of Tampa Bay's three hits, and the Rays inched closer to their first division title with a 4-2 victory Monday night.

After Boston lost 4-3, reducing Tampa Bay's magic number to four, a roar resonated throughout the clubhouse.

"It was a nice, happy ending," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's exciting."

Any combination of Tampa Bay wins and Red Sox losses totaling four would give the Rays their first AL East title. The Rays, already assured a place in the postseason, lead the Red Sox by 2½ games.

Tampa Bay managed only two hits over the first eight innings, but both were huge. Akinori Iwamura singled in two runs in the fifth, and Bartlett doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh off Rocky Cherry (0-3) following an error by second baseman Brian Roberts and a walk to Eric Hinske.

Carlos Pena picked up his 100th RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, when the Rays scored two unearned runs to take a 4-2 lead.

Tampa Bay's David Price began his first big league start with four hitless innings, but the left-hander gave up two runs in the fifth and was lifted in the sixth. Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, allowed one earned run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

"I pounded the zone, challenged their hitters, worked out of a couple jams. So, not too bad," the rookie said. "I left us in a position to win the game. As a starter, that's what you want to do."

Grant Balfour (6-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings, J.P. Howell recorded four outs and Dan Wheeler retired two batters for his 12th save.

The Rays (93-62) are one win shy of tying the 1991 Atlanta Braves for most victories by a team that had the worst record in the majors one year earlier.

It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Orioles, who fell to 3-12 against Tampa Bay this season.

Baltimore muffed a potential scoring opportunity in the sixth when Oscar Salazar was doubled up on a routine fly to center.

"To me, that's a total mental breakdown on his part," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "To be honest with you, that's embarrassing to me and the club and the people watching the game. I'm just saying, it's not right."

Orioles starter Brian Bass didn't allow a hit but was pulled after walking three consecutive batters in the fifth inning. His pitching line was rather unique: 4 2/3 innings, two runs, no hits and four walks.

Asked if he had any reservations about pulling a pitcher throwing a no-hitter, Trembley said, "He was done. He was out of gas."

Bass retired the first 11 batters before Pena drew a fourth-inning walk.

In the fifth, Bass walked Gabe Gross with two outs, then threw a wild pitch before issuing an intentional walk to Hinske. After Bass walked Bartlett on a 3-2 pitch, Trembley brought in Randor Bierd.

Iwamura followed with Tampa Bay's first hit.

Baltimore tied it in the bottom half. Luke Scott reached on an error before Ramon Hernandez got Baltimore's first hit, a single to center, and Luis Montanez singled to load the bases. Juan Castro then drew a walk to force in a run and Roberts hit a sacrifice fly.


  • Orioles 3B Melvin Mora (hamstring) did not play and might be done for the season, Trembley said.
  • Pena is the third player to have two 100-RBI seasons with Tampa Bay. Aubrey Huff, who's now with the Orioles, and Fred McGriff are the others.
  • The Rays never before beat a team 12 times in one season.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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David Price yields one earned run on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.  (US Presswire)
David Price yields one earned run on four hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

J. Bartlett
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0

R. Hernandez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4012111 .276
B.J. Upton, CF4000135 .275
Carlos Pena, 1B3001232 .247
Evan Longoria, 3B4000024 .276
Cliff Floyd, DH4000010 .275
Dioner Navarro, C4000000 .289
Gabe Gross, RF3200100 .246
Eric Hinske, LF1100200 .244
    Fernando Perez, PR-LF1100000 .229
Jason Bartlett, SS3021100 .282
2B - Jason Bartlett 2 (24, Cherry, Mickolio)
RBI - Akinori Iwamura 2 (45), Carlos Pena (100), Jason Bartlett (34)
2-OUT RBI - Akinori Iwamura 2 (20), Carlos Pena (32)
SB - Jason Bartlett (20, 3rd base off Mickolio/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
Outfield Assists - B.J. Upton 1
DP - Upton-Iwamura
E - Evan Longoria (12, Misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Rays
David Price 5.1421330 2.38
Grant Balfour (W,6-2) 1.2000020 1.45
J.P. Howell (H,14) 1.1100030 2.26
Dan Wheeler (S,12) 0.2100010 3.22
Pitches-Strikes - David Price 88-60, Grant Balfour 15-13, J.P. Howell 21-14, Dan Wheeler 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 8-6, J.P. Howell 1-0
Batters Faced - David Price 24, Grant Balfour 4, J.P. Howell 5, Dan Wheeler 3
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B2001100 .296
Nick Markakis, RF4010013 .299
Adam Jones, CF4000003 .270
Aubrey Huff, 3B4010021 .308
Oscar Salazar, 1B4010011 .286
Luke Scott, DH3100122 .263
Ramon Hernandez, C4120003 .258
    Brandon Fahey, PR0000000 .229
Luis Montanez, LF4010021 .305
Juan Castro, SS2001110 .187
   a- Kevin Millar, PH1000001 .236
a-popped out for Castro in the 9th
SF - Brian Roberts (6)
RBI - Brian Roberts (56), Juan Castro (15)
Team LOB - 7
E - Brian Roberts (8, Misplayed grounder(Ground rule on fan interference))
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Bass 4.2022450 5.08
Randor Bierd 1.1100020 4.75
Rocky Cherry (L,0-3) 1120320 4.86
Rob McCrory 1000000 16.62
Kam Mickolio 1100110 7.11
IBB - Hinske by Brian Bass, Iwamura by Rocky Cherry
WP - Brian Bass (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Bass 73-36, Randor Bierd 20-16, Rocky Cherry 31-13, Rob McCrory 12-6, Kam Mickolio 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brian Bass 5-4, Randor Bierd 1-1, Rocky Cherry 1-1, Rob McCrory 3-0, Kam Mickolio 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Bass 18, Randor Bierd 5, Rocky Cherry 8, Rob McCrory 3, Kam Mickolio 5
Game Information
Attendance - 12489
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Tim Timmons