Recap Tampa Bay at Baltimore
Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Schoop delivered a tie-breaking RBI single in the sixth inning, Caleb Joseph went 2-for-4 with two RBI and the Baltimore Orioles came through with a 4-2 decision over the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards.
Nelson Cruz also had two hits, including a run-scoring double, while four Baltimore relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings to help the Orioles win their second straight in this four-game set. Brad Brach (5-0) collected the victory with 1 1/3 shutout frames after taking over for starter Wei-Yin Chen.
Grant Balfour (1-6) was handed the loss for being charged with two runs in one-plus inning of work.
Evan Longoria finished 2-for-4 and knocked in both Tampa Bay runs, with Desmond Jennings also recording a pair of hits in defeat.
Balfour came on with the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth and surrendered a one-out single to J.J. Hardy, who was then erased on Chris Davis' fielder's choice grounder. Joseph laced a base hit to extend the inning, however, and Schoop followed with a sharp single to left that brought home Davis without a throw.
"You have to win all kinds of games," said Joseph.
The Orioles added some insurance in the seventh, with Balfour permitting a leadoff walk to Steve Pearce and a single to Adam Jones before Cruz greeted Joel Peralta with an RBI double to right center.
Baltimore's bullpen protected the lead with strong work from Tommy Hunter, Andrew Miller and Zach Britton, each of whom fired a perfect inning to close things out. Britton got the final three outs to notch his 28th save.
Both starting pitchers labored through shortened outings, with Tampa's Alex Cobb reached for two runs while throwing 92 pitches through four innings and Chen also allowing a pair of runs on seven hits in a 91-pitch, 4 2/3-inning stint.
"They're going out and making things happen," Cobb said of the O's. "Maybe we aren't on top of our game right now, but they're definitely the aggressors."
The Rays tagged Chen for six hits over the first two innings, but managed just one run during that stretch in part because of two standout defensive plays by Baltimore.
Longoria opened the scoring with a two-out single in the first that plated Ben Zobrist, with the hit coming after Jennings was thrown out at the plate on a quick strike from Pearce that completed a 5-3-2 double play.
Jennings singled up the middle with a runner on second an inning later, but Jones made a strong throw to nab Ryan Hanigan trying to score to keep it a 1-0 game.
Cobb kept the Orioles off the board until the fourth, when Baltimore put two men aboard on a Cruz single and a walk to Delmon Young. After Young stole second as Davis struck out looking, Joseph delivered a single to center that knocked in both runners for a 2-1 edge.
The Rays drew back even in the fifth when Zobrist walked and came around from first on Longoria's long double off the left-field wall, but Brach worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth to preserve the 2-2 tie.