ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After getting shut down by Rays pitching the last two days, the Orioles offense finally broke through -- in a big way -- in Sunday afternoon's series finale, as Baltimore jumped all over Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore en route to a 10-7 victory at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles (35-28) reclaimed possession of third place in the American League East by routing the Rays (34-28), whose pitching staff had held Baltimore to just one run on six hits over the first two games of the series. The Rays received strong starting pitching performances in those games from Chris Archer and Jeremy Hellickson, and with Moore taking the mound Sunday, it seemed as if that might continue.
Instead, Moore struggled through his second straight disastrous outing, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits and a walk over five innings. Moore, who fell to 8-2 as his ERA climbed to 3.78, has given up 15 runs (14 earned) on 19 hits and seven walks in seven innings over his last two starts against Detroit and Baltimore.
Meanwhile, Chris Tillman (6-2, 3.89 ERA) put together another solid outing. The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out five. He has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last 11 starts on the road.
Not that he needed to be at his best on Sunday.
It was clear almost immediately that Moore would be in for another rough outing. The Orioles pounded him with seven extra-base hits, including six doubles. After retiring the first batter of the game, he hit Manny Machado in the right knee with a pitch then served up back-to-back RBI doubles to J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones to immediately give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.
It only got worse from there, as Moore surrendered three runs in the second and three more in the third. Danny Valencia led off the second with a double, Steve Pearce singled and Alexi Casilla drove in Valencia with a sacrifice fly to right field. After Moore struck out Nick Markakis, the Orioles got back to work, as Machado and Hardy lined consecutive doubles to make it 5-0.
Baltimore kept piling it on in the third. Matt Wieters smacked a one-out double, Moore walked Valencia and Pearce singled to load the bases. Then it got ugly. Casilla singled to left field, scoring Wieters and Valencia, and the throw home bounced through Rays catcher Jose Molina's legs. Moore wasn't backing up home plate, so the ball skidded to the backstop, allowing Pearce to take third and Casilla to advance to second. That set up Markakis' sacrifice fly, which extended Baltimore's lead to 8-1.
The Orioles added another run in the fourth inning, when Jones crushed a 0-1 pitch from Moore deep to center field for his 12th home run of the year, and they later got to reliever Cesar Ramos on Markakis' RBI double in the seventh.
The Rays managed to at least make things interesting, scoring three runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth, forcing Baltimore to bring in closer Jim Johnson.
NOTES: Sunday was only the fifth day out of the last 49 that the Rays were above fourth place in the American League East, although they went a major league-best 20-9 from May 8-June 8. ... In the most recent voting numbers for the 2013 All-Star Game, Chris Davis, Hardy and Jones are in the lead at their respective positions on the AL ballot. ... The Rays and Orioles combined to score 121 runs in their 18 games against each other last season. Even before Sunday's game, they had already scored 121 runs through their first 11 matchups. ... Rays outfielder Sam Fuld lined a two-run homer off lefty reliever Brian Matusz in the eighth inning, Fuld's first home run since May 27, 2011. ... Machado extended his hitting streak to seven games, but he still hasn't recorded a multi-hit performance in any of his last eight games, his longest such streak of 2013.