Orioles 7, Devil Rays 4

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BALTIMORE (AP)—Bruce Chen has discovered what the rest of the American League is quickly learning: Baltimore has a fearsome offense.

Melvin Mora hit a pair of home runs, Miguel Tejada homered for the fourth consecutive game and the Orioles won their eighth straight, beating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-4 Sunday.

“I was talking to some of our pitchers, and it would be tough to face us,” Chen said. “I’m glad we’re pitching for this team. This team has been unbelievable.”

Chen (3-1) allowed three runs in six-plus innings and struck out a season-high seven as the Orioles matched their longest winning streak last year. Baltimore has not won nine straight since a 13-game streak from Sept. 7-22, 1999.

“It’s crazy. This team is crazy,” Mora said. “We’ve got power hitters. We’ve got speed. Everything.”

B.J. Ryan pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances.

“We came out of camp knowing that we had a pretty good offensive team,” Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. “But how good? You never know until you get into the season.”

Dewon Brazelton’s career-opening road losing streak reached 14 games as Tampa Bay dropped its seventh game in a row.

Brazelton (1-5) gave up five runs—four earned—nine hits and three walks in six innings. He is 0-3 in three road starts this year, and his skid is the longest on the road for a pitcher at the start of his big league career since Cincinnati’s Kent Peterson lost his first 18 decisions from 1947-49.

“I haven’t won on the road—I know that,” said Brazelton, who said a disputed two-run Mora homer in the first changed the complexion of the game. “You take away those two runs and it’s a whole different ballgame. I can only go out there and control what I can control.”

Toby Hall homered for Tampa Bay, which went 0-6 on the fourth winless road trip in franchise history. The Devil Rays, swept in a three-game series at Camden Yards for the first time, are 1-10 away from home.

“We can’t seem to get any big hits, can’t seem to find the strike zone sometimes,” Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff said. “We’re just not playing to win right now. Those guys are hot. They are the best team we’ve played this year.”

Jay Gibbons also connected for the Orioles, and Tejada finished with four hits.

Eduardo Perez’s RBI double in the first put Tampa Bay ahead, but Mora hit a two-run homer in the bottom half and the Orioles went ahead 4-1. Third-base umpire Ed Rapuano ruled Mora’s homer down the left-field line bounced off the top of the wall, off the white stripe separating fair from foul territory.

“I saw the kid who caught it,” said Devil Rays left fielder Jonny Gomes, who argued unsuccessfully. “He was foul.”

In the second, Brian Roberts hit an RBI single and scored on an error by Hall, Tampa Bay’s catcher. Gibbons hit a leadoff homer in the fourth, but Aubrey Huff cut it to 5-2 with an RBI single in the fifth. Hall homered on the first pitch of the seventh, chasing Chen.

Rob Bell relieved Brazelton to start the seventh and surrendered consecutive homers to Mora and Tejada in a span of four pitches. Julio Lugo had an RBI groundout in the eighth.

Notes

Devil Rays 1B Travis Lee left in the second inning with a groin strain. He was replaced by Josh Phelps. … The Orioles have a stolen base in 15 of their last 21 games and a homer in 17 of 19. It was Baltimore’s second four-homer game of the season. … Baltimore’s sweep was its fourth of the year. Last season, the Orioles didn’t reach that total until July 20.

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