ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Erasmo Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays had his first bad inning in almost two months, and Chris Davis made him pay.
Davis hit his fifth career grand slam and Miguel Gonzalez took a shutout into the eighth inning as the Baltimore Orioles snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the Rays on Saturday night.
Davis’ 22nd homer of the season broke a 0-0 tie in the third inning after J.J. Hardy, Jonathan Schoop and David Lough singled to load the bases against Ramirez, who had given up a total of four runs in his previous six starts.
"I didn’t execute a couple pitches in that inning, and that got me in trouble," Ramirez said. "After that hit I put it out of my mind, just tried to get deep into the game. That was my plan after that, but it was tough. It was 4-0."
Ramirez (8-4) became the first Rays starter to pitch into the eighth inning since Chris Archer on June 23, giving up five earned runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings. The right-hander didn’t issue a walk and struck out five. He entered Saturday night with a streak of nine consecutive appearances allowing two or fewer runs, tied for the second-longest stretch in Rays’ history.
But the bad pitch to Davis came at a bad time.
"Obviously with the full count and the bases loaded, I know he’s not going to walk me, or he’s not trying to walk me. So I looked for a pitch out over the plate and was able to get a good swing on it," Davis said.
"He’s got pop so he can hit the ball out of the park anywhere," Ramirez said. "I tried to expand the inside corner but I didn’t get it there and he just took advantage of that."
Gonzalez (9-6) allowed one run and five hits over 7 2-3 innings to win for the third time in his last four starts.
"This wasn’t the first time he’s pitched a good ball game against us. We’ve had some issues with him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We’re in a rut. We’ve been in it for some time."
The Orioles added a run in the eighth when Lough tripled and bounced up from his slide to jog home and score on second baseman Logan Forsythe’s throwing error.
The five runs are the most Ramirez has allowed in two months, a span of 10 starts in which he’s gone 6-2 with two no-decisions.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, improved to 2-1 in four starts against Tampa Bay this season, limiting the light-hitting Rays to three runs in 29 innings. He allowed doubles to Evan Longoria and singles to Kevin Kiermaier and James Loney through six innings.
The Rays, who lost for the 20th time in 29 games, avoided being shut out for a 10th time when Curt Casali homered off Gonzalez with one out in the eighth.
Chaz Roe finished the combined five-hitter for the Orioles, retiring all four batters he faced after replacing Gonzalez.
Orioles: RHP Jason Garcia (right shoulder) has allowed three runs, six hits and eight walks and struck out nine over nine innings in his first five minor league rehab games with Double-A Bowie.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (torn labrum) will start a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Durham. The key acquisition from Detroit in the three-team trade that sent David Price from Tampa Bay to the Tigers last summer hasn’t pitched since May 5.
Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-6) makes his fourth start this season against the Rays in Sunday’s series finale. He went 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in the first three.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore (1-1) will make his fifth start Sunday since returning from elbow surgery. He hasn’t gone more than five innings in his first four outings.