After the Orioles beat the Rays 9-4 on Friday, the teams split a doubleheader the following day. Baltimore took the first game as Jonathan Schoop hit two homers in a 6-3 win.
Nonetheless, Baltimore is enjoying its most successful stretch of the season, having won four out of five. The Orioles (12-28) have also scored 41 runs in the last six games while hitting .286 (58-for-203) since last Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Oakland.
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“Just keep putting people on base and keep the pressure on them,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about maintaining some the momentum. “Pitching in the American League is hard and you’re going to have to try to stay away from real big innings.”
The Rays (16-21) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 10-3 victory in the second game of the twin bill Saturday as Mallex Smith had three hits and drove in three runs.
Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 18 games, one shy of tying the team record set by Jason Bartlett in 2009. He is hitting .375 during this streak.
Left-hander Blake Snell (4-2, 2.40 ERA) will try to help Tampa Bay earn a split in the series when he takes the mound in the finale. He owns the lowest ERA among Tampa Bay’s starters.
In his last outing, Snell allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks over 6/1/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
“I thought Blake was really good,” manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s a sign of a pitcher that’s starting to come into his own a little bit because he certainly didn’t have the crisp stuff that we’ve seen him have in the past, but he found a way to battle.”
Snell is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three career starts against Baltimore.
Dylan Bundy (1-5, 5.31 ERA) will look to bounce back for the Orioles after allowing seven runs without recording an out in his last outing Tuesday in a 15-7 loss against the Royals. He also became the first pitcher in the current era to allow four home runs without retiring a batter, according to Baseball Reference.
Bundy has allowed 22 runs (19 earned) in his last three starts (nine innings).
He worked on his mechanics in a bullpen session late last week. Showalter is optimistic the young right-hander is ready to move past the recent struggles.
“I just have a lot of confidence in Dylan,” Showalter said. “I was out there for his workday because there were some things I wanted to see. I told you, I asked him, ‘How do you feel’ And he goes, ‘Fresh.’ He said, ‘I only threw 28 pitches.’ Believe me, he takes it very seriously.”
Bundy is 1-3 with a 7.31 ERA in seven career games (six starts) against the Rays.
Manny Machado has helped carry the Orioles offense with four homers in three games before going 0-for-4 in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader. He is the youngest Oriole to reach 150 home runs at 25 years and 309 days.
“It’s always a great accomplishment,” Machado said. “Words can’t even describe how exciting that it is, reaching that milestone. Doing it with this organization, doing it with the team that I’ve been doing it for, I couldn’t be any happier.”
Orioles designated hitter Pedro Alvarez was held out of the doubleheader after enduring spasms and cramping in the hamstring Thursday against Kansas City. He could be available for the finale Sunday. Mark Trumbo served as the designated hitter in place of Alvarez.
“I’m hoping that he’s able to contribute soon,” Showalter said of Alvarez.