Orioles 4, Rays 2

Like it or not, the Baltimore Orioles have been thrust into the

spoiler’s role during the final weeks of the season.

The Orioles don’t necessarily relish the idea of ruining a

team’s pursuit of a playoff berth, but they’re not at all fond of

losing.

So, after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Tuesday night, the

Orioles celebrated a victory rather than savor their role in the AL

wild-card race.

”We’re very respectful of what the Rays have done to get to the

point where these games matter,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter

said. ”We’re more concerned with doing some things that allow us

to be able to do that in the future. … I don’t think (we want) to

make somebody feel our pain, so to speak.”

Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to break a

tie and end Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak. The loss dropped

the Rays four games behind Boston in the wild-card hunt.

”We’re playing some teams at the end of the year that are

playing for important parts in the playoffs,” Wieters said. ”So

they’re going to bring their A game, and anytime you can go out

there and get a win, it’s going to help your confidence going into

next year.”

Clearly, the Orioles aren’t fond of the spoiler’s role.

”We’re just trying to play as well as we can against teams that

are going to the playoffs,” Wieters said. ”They can fight it out

and go for the playoffs. We’re just going to try and get better and

keep working.”

With the score 2-all, Tampa Bay reliever J.P. Howell (2-3)

retired the first two batters in the eighth before Vladimir

Guerrero singled. Adam Jones entered as a pinch runner and Howell

threw over to first base five times – including three in a row –

before serving up a 1-1 pitch that Wieters drove into the

left-field seats.

”A stupid pitch,” Howell said. ”You get sick. Nothing goes

through your mind. You go blank. It’s disgusting.”

Troy Patton (1-1) retired all three batters he faced before Jim

Johnson got the final out for his fifth save. It was Patton’s first

major league win.

Both starters pitched brilliantly but did not receive a

decision.

Tampa Bay’s David Price allowed two runs, one earned, and four

hits in 6 2-3 innings. He is 0-2 against the Orioles, the only team

to beat him twice this year.

Alfredo Simon was just as good. The right-hander gave up two

runs and six hits over seven innings and had a career-high nine

strikeouts, including Desmond Jennings three times.

”We want to do everything we can to beat every team, so if

they’re in the race, so be it,” Simon said. ”We want to win every

game.”

So do the Rays.

”Realistically, we’re not going to win the rest of our games,”

manager Joe Maddon said. ”Hopefully, we just lose a couple.”

Simon retired 12 straight batters and took a 1-0 lead into the

sixth. After B.J. Upton drew a one-out walk and stole second, Evan

Longoria sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall.

But the Orioles bounced back in the seventh. Nolan Reimold

walked and stole second before pinch-hitter Jake Fox chased Price

with a run-scoring double to left-center.

Baltimore got an unearned run in the first inning when J.J.

Hardy doubled and scored when shortstop Sean Rodriguez threw wildly

to first base after fielding a grounder by Nick Markakis.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with no outs in the second before

Simon struck out John Jaso and got Rodriguez to hit into a double

play. The Rays didn’t get another runner until Upton walked in the

sixth, setting the stage for Longoria’s 26th home run.

After scoring in the first, the Orioles didn’t get a runner to

second base until the sixth. In the fifth, Robert Andino hit a

liner to left that Jennings snagged on the run at the warning

track.

In the sixth, Hardy reached on an infield hit and Markakis

walked before Guerrero hit into a double play. Price then retired

Wieters on a grounder to third.

NOTES: By stealing second base in the second inning, Tampa Bay’s

Johnny Damon became the ninth player in baseball history with 200

homers and 400 steals. … Jones missed a fourth straight start

with a sore right thumb. He was named the Orioles winner of the

Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work in the community.

… Tampa Bay RHP Kyle Farnsworth is out with a right elbow injury.

Maddon said he thinks Farnsworth is improving and will return

shortly. Joel Peralta served as the closer on Monday. … Baltimore

has scheduled RHP Jeremy Guthrie (7-17) for the final game of the

three-game series Wednesday night. Guthrie leads the majors in

losses. The Rays will start RHP Wade Davis (10-8).