ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Joey Wendle hit an RBI double during a three-run first inning and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays handed the Baltimore Orioles their record-setting 14th consecutive road loss, 5-4 on Saturday.
It is the longest skid since team moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954. The Orioles dropped 13 straight on the road in 2018 and also in 1988.
“It's not fun to lose,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Hopefully we can turn it around tomorrow.”
Since the beginning of May, the Rays (41-24) are a major league-best 28-10.
“It's been a pretty special run.” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “The guys have found ways to win in different ways. Just keep winning at this clip and we're going to be in line for some good things. To date we have to pleased with where we're at.”
Reliever Collin McHugh (1-1) struck out five and gave up one hit in two scoreless innings to pick up his first win since Aug. 30, 2019.
Diego Castillo worked the ninth and got his 11th save.
Austin Wynns hit a grand slam for the Orioles, who are 0-5 against Tampa Bay this season..
Tampa Bay starter Rich Hill gave up four runs, four hits, three walks and struck out five over 4 ⅔ innings. The 41-year old had allowed just three earned runs over 39 ⅔ innings in his previous seven starts.
Hill had grounders go off his leg in the second and fifth innings.
Cash said Hill was fine and not affected by the balls.
Wendle grounded a two-out double down the third-base line off Jorge López (2-7) in the first before Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier had run-scoring infield singles as the Rays took a 3-0 lead.
Brandon Lowe made it 5-0 on a two-out, two-run double in the fourth that bounced over left fielder Ryan Mountcastle’s head, which allowed the second run to score.
Lowe, who entered Friday with the AL’s second-lowest batting average at .188, has four hits in seven at-bats with four RBIs in the two games
Wynns got the Orioles within 5-4 with his first career grand slam in the fifth. His first homer since Sept. 24, 2019, ended Hill’s scoreless streak at 16 innings.
López gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 ⅔ innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
“I thought he threw the ball great,” Hyde said. “He got beat by three opposite-field soft singles in the first inning. He got really, really unlucky.”
López hit Brett Phillips, his former teammate in Milwaukee and Kansas City with a pitch in the fourth.
Phillips displayed fake anger that prompted plate umpire Nick Mahrley to get in front of him. Soon after, a laughing Phillips went to first base.
“When I got hit I was like, you know what, I'm going to have a little fun with this," said Phillips, who called López one of his favorite teammates. “So I immediately turned around and I was like, ‘do you want to fight with me?’ I said it with a smile on my face but the umpire and catcher couldn't see that I was laughing.”
López said Phillips is like a brother.
“He's funny,” López said. “Everything was kind of fun."
Orioles: OF Austin Hays went 0 for 4 and is hitless in eight at-bats, including five strikeouts, since returning Friday from a left hamstring strain.
Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi (left groin strain) should have his return date set on Sunday. … RHP Chris Archer (forearm tightness) could be ready for live batting practice in late June or early July.
Umpires: Mahrley was checked out by a trainer after getting hit in the left arm by a pitch that bounced in front of the plate from Baltimore reliever Tanner Scott in the sixth. He was also looked at after getting struck by a ball during the first.
Orioles LHP Bruce Zimmermann (4-3), on a career-high three-game winning streak, will start Sunday’s series finale. Tampa Bay LHP Josh Fleming (5-4) will start or follow an opener.
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