Orioles 2, Devil Rays 1

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BALTIMORE (AP)— The Baltimore Orioles again had problems getting clutch hits — until Luis Matos came up in the eighth inning.

Matos drove in Bernie Castro with a one-out single, and the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2-1 Saturday.

Pinch-hitter Castro led off the eighth with a single and stole second. Eric Byrnes sacrificed Castro to third, and reliever Joe Borowski (1-4) intentionally walked B.J. Surhoff. Matos then lined a single to left.

“I’ve been feeling comfortable at the plate for the last five or six days, and when I feel like that, I don’t look for pitches, I just look for something around the strike zone or something I know I can handle,” Matos said. “He threw me a slider … and I hit it on the end of the bat, but I got the base hit.”

Matos’ hit helped the Orioles win despite another poor performance in clutch situations. They went just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.

“Luis came up big for us today,” interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. “(It was) a clutch single. Just like we said over in Texas. He got the big hit, and we were hoping he’d come back and continue to carry it on—and he has.”

The Orioles left seven on base in the first four innings, and it’s the 15th time they’ve left at least 10 on since the All-Star break.

The lack of key hits cost Baltimore starter Bruce Chen, who threw seven innings of two-hit ball but left with a no-decision.

Chen turned in possibly his best effort of the season. He struck out three and walked three and kept Tampa Bay constantly off-balance with his variety of breaking balls and off-speed pitches.

“I felt I had good command of all my pitches,” Chen said. “I think I’m getting more comfortable out there … I can throw all of my pitches for strikes and whenever I throw a bad pitch, I can recognize it and make the adjustment quicker.”

Todd Williams (5-4) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and B.J. Ryan worked the ninth for his 34th save.

Tampa Bay starter Casey Fossum also gave up just one run in his six-inning stint. He scattered seven hits and worked his way out of trouble several times.

“It was a good-pitched game on both sides,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “They pitched a little better. You get runners on, sooner or later you punch one in, and they did.”

Carl Crawford gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead with a homer in the fourth. Chen had held the Devil Rays hitless for the first 3 1-3 innings before Crawford lined a shot to left-center.

The Orioles tied it in bottom of the inning when Brian Roberts reached on a two-out infield single with the bases load. Roberts hit a shot back up the middle that bounced off Fossum’s left leg and then beat the pitcher’s diving toss to first.


The Orioles were 69-77 heading into Saturday’s game—the same record they had after 146 games last year. … Baltimore’s Alejandro Freire had two hits and increased his streak to five games. … Crawford’s home run made him only the fifth player since World War II to get 15 homers, 15 triples and 30 doubles in one season.

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