ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Brett Phillips had an inside-the-park homer, Brandon Lowe went deep twice, and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays handed the Baltimore Orioles their 12th consecutive loss, 9-2 on Monday night.
Baltimore has been outscored 113-36 during the skid. The Orioles dropped 14 in a row from May 18-31.
Kevin Kiermaier and Mike Brosseau also homered for the Rays, who are 12-1 against the Orioles this season. Tampa Bay has outscored Baltimore 103-51, and has had nine runs or more in eight of the games.
”Really big day.” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said
Josh Fleming (10-6) followed opener Collin McHugh and gave up two runs and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.
”It was pretty awesome to see the offense come alive,” Fleming said.
McHugh struck out one over two perfect innings. He has not allowed an earned run in 16 consecutive appearances, spanning a team-record 32 straight innings.
”Collin has been really special for us throughout the season,” Cash said.
Phillips sent a leadoff drive in the sixth off Paul Fry to the left-center field wall that bounded past center fielder Cedric Mullins and was retrieved by left fielder D.J.Stewart. The speedster ended his dash around the bases with a head-first drive to beat a relay throw at the plate.
”I’ve experiencing a lot of fun things this year, and that was definitely one of them,” Phillips said. ”The most exhausting fun thing I’ve done this year, by far.”
The announced crowd for the opener of a seven-game homestand for the Rays was just 5,460.
Lowe hit his second homer of the game and career-high 28th, a two-run shot off Fry later in the sixth to put the Rays ahead 8-1.
”It’s always fun to put up a lot of runs, everybody kind of be part of it,” Lowe said.
Austin Meadows put the Rays up 2-1 with a two-run triple off Matt Harvey (6-12) in the fourth. Meadows was thrown out at the plate when Harvey came off the mound to field Brosseau’s chopper barehanded and flip the ball to catcher Austin Wynns.
Kiermaier and Lowe had solo drives during a three-run fifth to make it 5-1.
Brosseau homered in the seventh.
Harvey, who entered 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break, allowed five runs and five hits in 4 ? innings.
”It’s obviously tough,” Harvey said. ”No one wants to go out there and continuously loss. I’ve been on losing teams, but nothing like this. We realize we have games to play left and it’s important how we finish, it’s important how we keep playing, keep our heads up and do everything we can to try and win as many as you can.”
After fouling balls off his calf and foot, Baltimore’s Trey Mancini had an RBI double in the eighth. He was replaced by a pinch-runner.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Mancini is ”pretty sore.”
Baltimore had runners on first and third with no outs in the third, but scored just once on Mullins’ sacrifice bunt.
The Rays signed RHP David Robertson to a major league contract, and will have him report to Triple-A Durham. The 36-year old reliever pitched for the silver-medal winning USA team in the Tokyo Olympics.
OF Colton Cowser, taken fifth overall in this year’s draft by Baltimore, was promoted to Class-A Delmarva from the rookie-level FCL, where he went 11 for 22 with a homer and eight RBIs in seven games.
Orioles: OF Ryan Mountcastle (concussion) may be back in a couple days.
Rays: RHP Matt Wisler (right middle finger) became the 17th Tampa Bay pitcher on the IL. … 1B Yandy Diaz could start Tuesday. … LHP Jeffrey Springs had surgery to reconstruct a torn ACL in his right knee. … RHPs Ryan Thompson (shoulder) and J.P. Feyereisen (shoulder) both worked a scoreless innings for the FCL Rays.
Orioles ace John Means (5-4) and Tampa Bay RHP Drew Rasmussen (1-1) are Tuesday night’s starters.
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