Rays look to ride loud bats to sweep of Orioles

National Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have banged out 22 runs while taking the first two games of their series against the host Baltimore Orioles.

Tampa Bay hit four homers in Saturday’s 12-3 victory over the Orioles as the Baltimore bullpen, already beset by injuries, fell apart once again.

Brandon Lowe, who finished with five RBIs, hit a grand slam in a five-run eighth inning as the Rays broke open a close game to remain in first place.

Wander Franco added a solo shot later in the top of the eighth. Nelson Cruz and Yandy Diaz also belted homered for the Rays, who improved to 10-1 against the Orioles this season.

Shane McLanahan (6-4) threw seven strong innings while giving up three up runs and striking out seven.

“He was awesome,” manager Kevin Cash said about McClanahan. “Really, really good. I was encouraged with his outing. He backed up another outstanding performance. He had good command, got his strikeouts and overcame a little bit of adversity.”

The Orioles appear headed toward putting Ryan Mountcastle on the injured list after he was tagged on the head Friday and left early. He’s gone 13-for-25 while on a seven-game RBI run.

The Orioles tried to rally and took a 3-2 lead in third. Rookie Jorge Mateo doubled, and then scored to make it 2-1. Cedric Mullins belted a two- run homer in the third for a 3-2 Baltimore lead. Mullins extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games.

But former Oriole Cruz put the Rays in front with a two-run shot in the fifth. Brett Phillips then made it 5-3 on an RBI double before Lowe hit a grand slam, and Franco added a solo shot for a five-run eighth and a 10-3 lead. Tampa added two in the ninth.

Spenser Watkins was frustrated that he couldn’t keep the Rays’ lineup in check, but there is no question it’s one of the best in baseball.

“It’s frustrating for me. . . . I want to put up some zeroes,” Watkins said. “They’re pesky. They’re phenomenal hitters. It’s a very strong, cerebral lineup.”

Baltimore starting catcher Pedro Severino left early with a knee contusion. Manager Brandon Hyde said the knee will be evaluated on Sunday. Kevin Kiermaier also came out early for the Rays with right knee soreness.

The Orioles made three more pitching moves before the game to help their thin bullpen. They recalled right-hander Isaac Mattson from Triple-A Norfolk and reinstated lefty Ryan Hartman from the injured list.

Tampa Bay will try to complete the three-game sweep with Michael Wacha (2-3, 5.26 ERA) going versus fellow right-hander Jorge Lopez (3-12, 5.91).

Wacha has an 0-1 record with a 6.43 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.

For Lopez, he’s 0-3 with a 4.86 record in four appearances – three starts — against the Rays.

–Field Level Media

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