Big bats narrow gap in AL East
Machado’s grand slam one of three homers; Orioles just a game behind Blue Jays
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The Orioles’ prolific offense hasn’t been as productive in the second half of the season, but it brought the bats out in the first two games this week in Tampa Bay.
With their 11-2 win over the Rays on Tuesday night, the Orioles opened their key nine-game road trip with back-toback wins at Tropicana Field, propelled by their power hitters.
The Orioles hit three homers, including Manny Machado’s third grand slam of the season, capping a six-run f ourth against Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi in front of an announced 12,207 at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles have scored 18 runs in two games here. Their 11 runs Tuesday was their highest offensive output in their past 18 games.
They have hit a total of 218 homers this season, the second-most in franchise history, passing last year’s club and trailing only the 257 homers hit by the 1996 team.
The Orioles (76-62), winners of four of their past five games, moved within one game of the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays, who lost in New York on Tuesday.
The Orioles Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi, who was 6-0 and had a 1.89 ERA Tor. 77-61 — Bos.* 76-61 O’s 76-62 1 N.Y. 72-65 31⁄ T.B. 58-79 171⁄ *late game Today, 1:10 p.m. TV: MASN Radio: 105.7 FM
since the All-Star break. The Orioles scored seven runs on six hits and three walks over five innings.
Chris Davis and Adam Jones also homered for the Orioles, but it was Machado’s blast, with two outs in the fourth, that broke the game open.
J.J. Hardy gave the Orioles their first lead with a broken-bat tworun double down the left-field line with the bases loaded earlier in the inning, and three batters later, Machado stepped to the plate with the bases loaded again.
Machado lifted a full-count fastball into the left-center-field stands, a towering shot that went an estimated 411 feet. Machado, who drove in five runs, has 34 homers and a career-high 90 RBIs.
The Rays (58–79), who abruptly fired hitting coach Derek Shelton after Ubaldo Jimenez pitched the Orioles’ first complete game in two years Monday, didn’t put up much offense again.
This time, Yovani Gallardo righted himself after giving up a leadoff homer to Logan Forsythe. Gallardo allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings. Davis homers, leaves game early: Davis homered for the second straight game and the third time in five games with a second-inning solo blast off Odorizzi that tied the game at 1.
Davis hit a full-count 93-mph fastball the opposite way, over the left-center-field fence for his 35th homer of the season.
The blast gave Davis his third 35-homer season with the Orioles, joining Boog Powell (three) and Matt Wieters, right, and Chris Davis, center, celebrate with on-deck batter Adam Jones after scoring on J.J. Hardy’s fourth-inning double. Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo allowed only two runs on five hits over five innings. Rafael Palmeiro (four) as the only players in club history with three seasons of 35 or more homers.
After striking out in the top of the fifth inning, Davis did not return to the game.
The team didn’t give an update on Davis by the end of the game. He remained in the dugout the rest of the game. Bullpen shuts Rays down: Four Orioles combined to pitch four shutout innings in relief of Gallardo, including left-hander Brian Duensing, who worked a scoreless sixth inning in his first outing since he missed nearly 10 weeks with an elbow injury that required surgery.
Mychal Givens posted a clean seventh inning and left-hander Donnie Hart pitched the eighth. Tommy Hunter closed out the game in the ninth.
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