Luke Raley hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 in the first game of a crucial series. The win brought the Rays within one game of first place in the AL East. The Rays’ bullpen continued its impressive performance, extending its streak to 34 innings without allowing an earned run.
The Orioles got home runs from Ryan O’Hearn and Gunnar Henderson, but it was not enough to secure the victory. With the game tied at 3, Raley hit a home run to center field off Kyle Bradish in the seventh inning, giving the Rays the lead.
Randy Arozarena contributed with a two-run triple in the third inning, and Tampa Bay pitcher Aaron Civale made a crucial double play in the fifth to prevent the Orioles from taking the lead. After that, the Rays’ bullpen took over and retired 12 straight batters, with closer Pete Fairbanks striking out the side in the ninth inning to earn his 24th save of the season.
Both teams had their share of defensive highlights, with Cedric Mullins making a diving catch for the Orioles and the Rays starting a rally with an infield single by Luke Raley.
The Rays will send Zach Eflin to the mound in the second game of the series, while the Orioles will counter with Jack Flaherty. Before the game, the Orioles will have a pregame celebration to honor the retirement of Adam Jones.
In injury news, the Rays activated outfielder Manuel Margot from the injured list, while Orioles first baseman Ryan Mountcastle did not play due to a shoulder injury.