ST. PETERSBURG — Pitching on the third straight day, Rays closer Pete Fairbanks could not get out of the ninth inning Saturday. He gave up an RBI single to Orioles pinch hitter Ryan O’Hearn as Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 6-5 in front of 25,025 at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (61-41), who had snapped a five-game losing streak Friday night, lost the sixth out of seven games and 13th in their last 17. After beginning July with a 6.5-game lead on the Orioles (60-39) in the American League East, the Rays drop to a game back with the loss.
Baltimore has won 11 of their last 14 games and five of the last eight against Tampa Bay this season.
The Orioles had all of their first five hits in the fourth inning, when they tagged Shane McClanahan for five runs, until Adam Frazier had a pinch-hit single to lead off the ninth. James McCann bunted him to second and he scored on O’Hearn’s line-drive single to right.
McClanahan was fired his first-ever loss to the Orioles. He went into Saturday’s game 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA against Baltimore, where he was born. Despite struggling to find the strike zone and walking two in the first inning, McClanahan seemed to find his groove after striking out Aaron Hicks to end the inning. He retired nine straight when Ryan Mountcastle beat out a ball to shortstop for a single and everything fell apart for him. McClanahan walked three, struck out five and got through just four innings.
The Rays’ offense, which had been struggling all month, managed to claw their way out of the hole.
The Rays got two runs off Grayson Rodriguez in the sixth when Jose Siri doubled with Josh Lowe on first. That set up Wander Franco for his first RBI since a home run on July 7 with a two-out, two-run ground-ball single to center. Franco, who was 5 for his last 40 at-bats before the single, was caught trying to steal second with Luke Raley at the plate to end the Rays’ rally in the inning.
The Rays scored another in the seventh with back-to-back one-out singles off Danny Coulombe before Isaac Paredes lined an RBI single to center off Baltimore’s All-Star reliever Yennier Cano.
In the eighth, Shintaro Fujinami walked the first two batters and gave up a run on Franco’s groundout to second base. Randy Arozarena, who came into the game in a 9-for-53 slump, chopped a ball off the glove of shortstop Jorge Mateo to bring in the tying run. Brandon Lowe struck out to end the inning.
This story will be updated.
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