ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Nolan Reimold and the Baltimore Orioles made it a lot easier for Wei-Yin Chen.
Reimold and Caleb Joseph combined for four RBIs in the early innings Sunday, leading the Orioles to a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Reimold drove in two runs with a first-inning double, the first of his three hits, and Joseph added a two-run home run off Matt Moore in the fourth to to put the Orioles up 5-0. It was Joseph’s seventh homer of the season.
“Anytime you can jump out to a five-run lead there in the early innings, it always gives (the pitcher) a little room for error ... it really works in your favor,” Joseph said. “If you can draw it up, that’s how you’d like to do it.”
Chen (5-6) won for the first time in four starts against Tampa Bay, giving up two runs and six hits while striking out three in 5 1-3 innings.
The win was the second straight for the Orioles after a four-game losing streak
In his fifth start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Moore (1-2) became only the second pitcher in Rays history to begin a season with five straight starts of five innings or fewer. Moore gave up five runs and eight hits while striking out four.
Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe homered for the Rays on consecutive pitches off Chen in the fourth. The Rays failed to score again, even after loading the bases with one out in the fifth and putting seven more men on base in the final four innings.
“We had some crucial situations where we could have closed the gap or maybe changed the lead, and we just didn’t get it done,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Chen showed a lot of frustration after being lifted in the sixth.
“I think he was more frustrated in himself at not being to finish than he was frustrated at me,” said manager Buck Showalter. “But we had some good innings out of the bullpen and he got a well deserved win.”
Said Chen through a translator: “I was taken out of the game because I allowed a couple of runners to get on base. Anybody would be angry in that situation.”
Four relievers finished for the Orioles. Zach Britton earned his 25th save.
Longoria’s home run was his 10th of the season and his first since July 7. Forsythe hit his career-high 11th homer and also ended a bases-loaded Orioles threat with a diving catch in the third.
The loss was the 21st in 30 games for the Rays. They’ve dropped eight of their last nine series.
Tampa Bay has scored only 87 runs in those 30 games and has scored the fewest runs (351) through 100 games of any team in the franchise’s 18 seasons.
Orioles: C Matt Wieters was out of the lineup due to minor back stiffness. Wieters should return for Monday night’s game against Atlanta.
Rays: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (right hamstring) expects to play in the next few days.
Orioles: Showalter expects OF Nick Markakis will get a great reaction from fans Monday when the former Orioles star returns to Camden Yards for the first time since signing a free agent contract with the Braves.
Rays: RHP Nathan Karns (5-5) will face Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (10-7), who is 7-0 in his last eight starts, in the opener of a three-game series Monday night. Karns threw five scoreless innings and homered in a 1-0 win at Philadelphia Tuesday night.
FLORIDA STATE BATTERY
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall pick in the NFL draft, caught the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Jimbo Fisher, his coach at Florida State. “Of course I miss baseball, but we’ve got training camp around the corner,” said Winston, who pitched and played outfield at FSU.