Davis' slam powers Orioles past Tampa Bay
BALTIMORE — Following an unprecedented sweep of the Rays, Orioles manager Buck Showalter insisted his team was fortunate to catch a Tampa Bay team riddled by injuries.
Then again, given the way Baltimore has been playing lately, it appeared as if the Rays were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Chris Davis hit his seventh career grand slam, and the AL East leaders staged another power-packed performance in a 12-5 rout Sunday that extended Tampa Bay’s losing streak to 11 games.
Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo also homered for the Orioles, who used 17 hits to earn their fifth straight victory and climb a season-high 15 games over .500 (45-30).
“They’re hitting good pitches,” Tampa Bay starter Drew Smyly said. “It just seemed like every ball found a hole. They beat us up all series. They have a really good lineup, 1 through 9, they all hit home runs. They all have really high averages. That’s why they’re in first place right now.”
Baltimore improved to 31-13 at Camden Yards, the best home record in the majors.
After the Orioles used a walk and two singles to load the bases against Smyly (2-8) with no outs in the first inning, Davis hit an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats.
That sent Baltimore to its first four-game sweep in a rivalry that began in 1998. The Orioles are 7-2 against Tampa Bay this season, 6-0 at home.
“This was a fun series,” said Adam Jones, who went 4 for 4 in the finale. “Obviously, we did a lot, scoring a lot of runs each night. But we just passed the baton. We fed off the guy in front of us.”
The Rays have been outscored 72-29 during their skid and yielded at least five runs in each game. The defeat completed an 0-7 swing through Cleveland and Baltimore, the third time in franchise history the team has gone winless on a road trip of at least seven games.
“Losing is tough,” manager Kevin Cash said. “There’s no doubt about it. You find out a little bit about each other. You find out about your club. Nobody’s character is going away. We’re staying positive.”
Tampa Bay has six players on the disabled list, including four outfielders.
“We caught them when they’ve got a lot of people hurt and you’re hoping to take advantage of it before they get out of town because the next time we seem them, trust me, they’ll be a different club,” Showalter said.
Desmond Jennings and newcomer Oswaldo Arcia hit solo homers for the Rays, mired in their longest losing streak in seven years. Obtained on Friday in a trade with the Twins, Arcia had three hits and three RBIs.
Smyly endured five rocky innings, giving up eight runs and 10 hits — including three homers and three doubles. Before this outing, the left-hander was 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in eight career games against Baltimore.
Tyler Wilson (4-5) earned his first win in seven home starts this season despite allowing five runs and 10 hits over five innings.
After Jennings homered in the second, Jones dropped down a run-scoring bunt in the bottom half.
Schoop made it 6-2 with his 13th home run, but Arcia homered in the fourth and added a two-run double in the fifth to get the Rays within a run.
Manny Machado led off the Baltimore fifth with a double and Trumbo launched his AL-leading 22nd homer for an 8-5 lead.
DAVIS’ (SORTA) DAY OFF
Showalter used Davis as the designated hitter and started Trumbo at first base. “I’m trying to give Chris two days off the field. He hasn’t had many,” Showalter said. Baltimore does not play Monday.
Rays: Activated from the 15-day DL before the game, RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) gave up four runs in the eighth. The Rays cleared room for Webb by sending RHP Tyler Sturdevant to Triple-A Durham.
Orioles: RHP Darren O’Day (right hamstring strain) is making progress toward a return. “If everything goes perfectly, he could be activated on this (nine-game) trip,” Showalter said.
Rays: Tampa Bay opens an 11-game homestand Monday night, hosting Boston. The Rays are one of four major league teams that haven’t had a winning homestand.
Orioles: Baltimore planned to travel to San Diego on Sunday night and take Monday off before starting a two-game series against the Padres on Tuesday.