ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—It’s only one win, but considering the Baltimore Orioles haven’t had much to celebrate the past two weeks, it was welcome.
The Orioles beat Tampa Bay 8-4 on Tuesday night, which means they have won just two games since Aug. 22, have lost 12 of their last 14 and been outscored 132-64 in that stretch.
“(Scoring runs late in the game) has been a long time coming,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “These are the kind of things that get you going back in the direction we should be going.”
Aubrey Huff went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, his seventh against his former club. Huff is 22-for-56 with 14 RBI against the Devil Rays this season. He has 15 home runs total.
“(Huff has) hit the ball very well against us,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Right now, you can see that he’s locked in. He’s not taking bad swings.”
Hernandez went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to seven games. During that span, he has three home runs and nine RBIs.
“I have that good feeling when I’m swinging at the ball,” Hernandez said. “It’s a good feeling through my swing that I’ve never had before.”
Trembley says extra rest has helped Hernandez at the plate.
“He’s the guy, that at this point in the season, he needs to get hot for us,” Trembley said. “A lot of people don’t like it, but I’ve rested him. He’s not catching six days a week now.”
With the score tied at 4, Dan Wheeler took over for Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir. Miguel Tejada led off with a single, and with one out, Nick Markakis also singled. Mora followed with a single to left to make it 5-4. After a single by Huff, Scott Dohmann relieved and gave up the double to Hernandez.
Kazmir, who went 4-1 in six August starts, pitched seven innings, gave up four runs and nine hits, while striking out five and allowing a walk.
“There’s a couple of pitches that I really wish I had back,” Kazmir said. “I have to look forward to next time. You’ve got to take it with a grain of salt and keep going.”
Maddon felt Kazmir wasn’t his usual self.
“He didn’t have his better stuff tonight,” Maddon said. “They got their knocks against him and that’s going to happen.”
Wheeler (0-3) was charged with four earned runs in the eighth.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I’ve been throwing the ball good and to go out there and do that,” Wheeler said.
Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie pitched six innings, giving up three runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and four walks. He got his fifth no-decision in seven games. Chad Bradford (3-6) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the first on Corey Patterson’s solo homer and an RBI single by Markakis.
The Devil Rays (57-82) are four games behind Baltimore (60-77) for fourth place. Tampa Bay can also match its franchise-record 70 wins by going 13-10 the remainder of the season.
The Devil Rays have won 9 of their last 12 games and are 19-17 since July 29.
The Orioles have held the lead in 106 of their 137 games this season. … SS Ben Zobrist, out since Aug. 19 because of a right oblique strain, is “likely done” for the season, Maddon said. … Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, who is having a career year with 35 home runs and 98 RBI, said he has not contacted by the Tampa Bay front office about contract negotiations. The 28-year-old is eligible for arbitration after the season. … Young snapped ended an 11-game hitting streak, going 0-for-4. … Markakis had four hits in a game for the fourth time this season.