Tampa Bay 8, Baltimore 3
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, September 22, 2017
Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Eric Cooper, 1B -
Gabe Morales, 2B -
Gary Cederstrom, 3B -
BALTIMORE -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Friday's game that even though his team hit plenty of home runs this season, they needed more with runners on base.
That is why Wilson Ramos made Cash a very happy man.
Ramos belted a grand slam, and Evan Longoria added a solo shot as the Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 8-3.
Ramos hit the grand slam off Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez after the first three Rays (75-79) reached in the second inning. He finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, getting the homer plus a double and a single.
"It's good for the team to start the game with a grand slam," Ramos said. "Today I get an opportunity to bring runners in. I was looking for one pitch and trying to hit the ball in the air."
Ramos nearly hit a second homer in the eighth inning. His shot to deep right was originally ruled a home run but overturned on a crew chief review and turned into a double.
Longoria's home run came in the third and let Tampa Bay tie a franchise record for homers in a season (216).
For Longoria, it was his 39th career homer versus Baltimore (74-81). But the Ramos home run was the key on this night because it gave the Rays the lead for good -- as well as some early breathing room at 4-0.
"Big knock by Wilson Ramos to separate the game there," Cash said. "You're not going to get up there and hit three-run homers or grand slams every night, but putting yourself on the bases to have those opportunities (helps)."
The home runs helped Alex Cobb (12-10) earn the victory after battling through six innings. He allowed three runs on nine hits and worked out of some jams but never gave up a big hit.
Jimenez (6-11), however, once again dealt with many problems.
He gave up six runs on eight hits in just three innings, and his ERA jumped to 6.81. Since this is the final year of his contract, it might have been his last start at Camden Yards as an Oriole.
The right-hander just hasn't been able to find what he needs to be a consistent pitcher with the Orioles, and it's been a perplexing problem to him also.
"Hopefully when I get that answer I'll let you know," Jimenez said. "I've been feeling good, especially this year. I just haven't had the results to show for it."
Chris Davis hit the only home run for Baltimore, a solo shot in the fourth.
Lucas Duda added an RBI double for the Rays in the ninth to cap the scoring.
The Rays took the early 4-0 lead when Ramos crushed his grand slam 439 feet into the left field seat off Jimenez in the top of the second.
Baltimore cut the lead in half in the bottom of that inning thanks to an Austin Hays sacrifice fly and a Cobb wild pitch.
Longoria led off the third with a homer and Adeiny Hechavarria's RBI single off Jimenez made it 6-2 later that inning.
Davis started the bottom of the fourth with a homer off Cobb, cutting the lead to 6-3. The Orioles had three singles but couldn't score in the previous inning as Manny Machado got thrown out at home by left fielder Corey Dickerson on Adam Jones' single.
Dickerson then gave Tampa Bay a 7-3 lead in the fifth with an RBI double off Miguel Castro.
That proved too much for the struggling Orioles to bounce back from. Baltimore's offense, which was so good in August, can't seem to find the spark in September.
"We're just not getting that last hit to get it over the top, and tonight you're going to have to score nine runs to win," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "That's always the emphasis for me is trying to figure out a way to keep them from going 360 feet, and tonight we didn't do a very good job of that."
NOTES: 2B Jonathan Schoop was selected as the Most Valuable Oriole in a vote by the local media members who cover the team. Schoop had a breakout season, made the All-Star team for the first time and had 105 RBIs heading into this game. ... CF Adam Jones' two hits moved him into fourth place on the Orioles' all-time hits list with 1,615, as he passed former OF Brady Anderson (1,614). ... C Wilson Ramos finished a triple shy of the cycle thanks to his homer, double and a single. ... Tampa Bay pitchers struck out the side in the eighth and in the ninth. They recorded seven of the final nine outs via the strikeout.
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