Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Tampa Bay
W: J. Niemann (2-1) L: J. Walker (1-3)
S: J. Howell (3)
HR: TB - E. Longoria (26)   BAL - None

Rays complete first DH sweep, reduce AL East magic number to two

CBSSports.com wire reports

BALTIMORE -- The first doubleheader sweep in the history of the Tampa Bay franchise moved the Rays two steps closer to a far more important milestone: their first AL East crown.

Tampa Ray reduced its magic number to win the division title to two Tuesday night, scoring six runs in the eighth inning to rally past the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 for an unprecedented sweep.

James Shields pitched seven effective innings to lead the Rays to a 5-2 victory in the opener.

The sweep, combined with Boston's 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians, left the Rays three games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. Any combination of Rays wins and Boston losses totaling two will give Tampa Bay its first division title.

"We can taste it a little more tonight," reliever J.P. Howell said. "We need a little help from Boston, but we can't rely on them. Let's just keep this thing moving.

"And just because if we win this division doesn't mean we can stop. We have to go all the way to Oct. 30 in my book."

In the nightcap, Tampa Bay trailed 5-1 before Evan Longoria homered and pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro singled in two runs off Jamie Walker (1-3) in a six-run eighth inning. The Rays had five hits through the first seven innings and six in the eighth, including a triple by Ben Zobrist and an RBI single by pinch hitter Jason Bartlett.

"That was quite a comeback right there," manager Joe Maddon said. "The whole team contributed."

Jeff Niemann (1-2) pitched 2 1/3 innings and Howell recorded five outs for his third save.

The victory enabled the Rays (95-62) to break the record held by the 1991 Atlanta Braves for most wins by a team that owned the worst record in the majors one year earlier.

Baltimore has lost eight in a row and 27 of 33. The Orioles have also dropped 11 in a row to Tampa Bay and are 3-14 overall against the Rays.

In the second game, Maddon did not start regulars Bartlett, Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, Navarro and Akinori Iwamura. Mitch Talbot made his first major league start. He gave up three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

And the Rays still recorded their first-ever doubleheader sweep.

"Really?" Maddon said.

"If we're going to be here as long as we've been here," Cliff Floyd said afterward, "we sure better sweep."

It was the 14th doubleheader in Tampa Bay history; the Rays had split seven and been swept six times.

Baltimore's Alfredo Simon, who was also making his first start in the majors, allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings. But his effort was ruined by Walker, who allowed four runs in the eighth and failed to get an out.

"I wish I could change it, but obviously I can't," Walker said. "So I've got to live with that. That's baseball. I've got to forget about it when I walk out that door, but that's a game we should've won and it's a hard one to swallow."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley wanted to bring in Jim Miller, but the reliever felt a pain in his side while warming up and took a seat in the bullpen.

"So we had to get Walker going," Trembley said.

In the first game, Shields (14-8) tied the club record for wins, set in 1998 by Rolando Arrojo. The right-hander gave up eight hits, struck out eight and walked one in his career-high 32nd start of the season.


  • The Rays announced that they have sold out the first two home games of the AL Division Series. Tampa Bay ranks 12th among 14 AL teams in home attendance, averaging 22,370.
  • Baltimore's Omir Santos picked up his first major league hit in the opener, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.
  • Talbot was the ninth different starter used by Tampa Bay this season, all of them under 26 years old.
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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Evan Longoria and Akinori Iwamura can taste an AL East title after the first DH sweep in team history.  (AP)
Evan Longoria and Akinori Iwamura can taste an AL East title after the first DH sweep in team history. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

D. Navarro
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 0

A. Simon
IP 7.2
H 7
ER 3
BB 0
K 6

Related Video

Tampa Bay Rays
Ben Zobrist, SS-LF4220001 .235
Willy Aybar, 2B4001002 .254
    Akinori Iwamura, 2B1000010 .273
Dan Johnson, 1B5011010 .200
Evan Longoria, 3B5111011 .276
Cliff Floyd, DH3010011 .276
   a- Rocco Baldelli, PH-DH2110001 .264
Gabe Gross, RF3100101 .244
Eric Hinske, LF3010001 .245
   b- Jason Bartlett, PH-SS1111000 .288
Michel Hernandez, C3010001 .250
   c- Dioner Navarro, PH-C1112000 .292
Fernando Perez, CF2000021 .264
   d- Carlos Pena, PH1000011 .247
    B.J. Upton, CF1011000 .274
a-singled for Floyd in the 8th
b-singled for Hinske in the 8th
c-singled for Hernandez in the 8th
d-struck out for Perez in the 7th
2B - Eric Hinske (21, Simon), B.J. Upton (36, Mickolio)
3B - Ben Zobrist (2, Simon)
HR - Evan Longoria (26, Simon)
RBI - Willy Aybar (32), Dan Johnson (4), Evan Longoria (83), Jason Bartlett (36), Dioner Navarro 2 (52), B.J. Upton (65)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (29), Jason Bartlett (18), Dioner Navarro 2 (33), B.J. Upton (26)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Eric Hinske 1
Tampa Bay Rays
Mitch Talbot 4.1633320 8.59
Chad Bradford 0.2000000 2.05
Jeff Niemann (W,2-1) 2.1422120 5.54
J.P. Howell (S,3) 1.2000000 2.22
Pitches-Strikes - Mitch Talbot 76-44, Jeff Niemann 38-25, J.P. Howell 17-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mitch Talbot 5-5, Chad Bradford 2-0, Jeff Niemann 4-1, J.P. Howell 2-3
Batters Faced - Mitch Talbot 21, Chad Bradford 2, Jeff Niemann 12, J.P. Howell 5
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4111112 .296
Luis Montanez, RF4120100 .311
Luke Scott, LF4000013 .258
    Adam Jones, CF1000000 .272
Oscar Salazar, 3B5021001 .282
Ramon Hernandez, DH4111002 .257
Kevin Millar, 1B3010102 .236
Jay Payton, CF-LF4100013 .245
Guillermo Quiroz, C3121011 .189
   a- Nick Markakis, PH0000100 .300
    Omir Santos, C0000000 .143
Juan Castro, SS3011002 .190
   b- Aubrey Huff, PH1000001 .306
    Alex Cintron, SS0000000 .281
a-walked for Quiroz in the 8th
b-popped out for Castro in the 8th
2B - Luis Montanez (6, Talbot), Oscar Salazar (3, Talbot), Guillermo Quiroz (5, Niemann)
RBI - Brian Roberts (57), Oscar Salazar (14), Ramon Hernandez (65), Guillermo Quiroz (14), Juan Castro (16)
2-OUT RBI - Brian Roberts (23), Juan Castro (6)
SB - Brian Roberts (39, 2nd base off Talbot/Hernandez), Jay Payton (8, 2nd base off Talbot/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
PB - Guillermo Quiroz (5)
E - Alex Cintron (8, Throwing)
Baltimore Orioles
Alfredo Simon 7.2733061 4.91
Jamie Walker (BS,4; L,1-3)0344100 6.87
Kam Mickolio 0.1100000 6.75
George Sherrill 1000010 4.82
HBP - Zobrist (by Alfredo Simon)
WP - Alfredo Simon (1), Jamie Walker (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Alfredo Simon 96-69, Jamie Walker 14-7, Kam Mickolio 8-4, George Sherrill 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alfredo Simon 12-5, George Sherrill 1-2
Batters Faced - Alfredo Simon 31, Jamie Walker 4, Kam Mickolio 2, George Sherrill 4
Game Information
Attendance - 15215
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - James Hoye