ST. PETERSBURG, Fla – Randy Arozarena struck his first career grand slam, the Tampa Bay relievers pitched seven innings without a hitting and the Rays handed the Baltimore Orioles their 15th straight road loss, 7-1 on Sunday.
The Orioles extended a questionable team record, the worst road skid since the club moved from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954.
Arozarena made it 7-1 when he stopped a personal 19-game home shortage in training to cross Cesar Valdez in seventh.
“I’m very happy, especially for me to hit this ball and I know it for the team,” Arozarena said through a performer. “We’re here to try to get the wins, and luckily we are. We are a good team. We are now a first place team.
After opener Michael Wacha allowed a run and two hits, Josh Fleming (6-4) entered the third and walked one – with two strikeouts in the third who was the Orioles’ last baseman – in four rounds.
“We’re the ones who start and try to stop the races,” said Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash. “That’s what puts us in a position where we have a chance to be special. Right now we’re having a lot of big hits.
Matt Wisler, Andrew Kittredge and Jeffrey Springs all worked a perfect round.
“We’re the best bullpen, I think, in the league,” Fleming said. “They will do it. “
The Tampa Bay relievers have a best 3.05 AL ERA, including 1.59 in the last 17 games. Overall, the Rays have limited their opponents to three points or less 39 times.
Taylor Walls scored two points as Tampa Bay, with the majors’ best record at 42-24, improved to 23-5 since May 13.
“Get some help. I think this group came into spring training with enough confidence and we want that to continue, ”said Cash.
Walls had a two-run single against Bruce Zimmermann (4-4) in the fourth as Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead. The rookie, who started the game with a hit on his previous 15 assists, scored a single and stole second from third before scoring on Yandy Díaz’s single.
Zimmermann allowed three runs and six hits in a 5 ⅔ inning, and ended his career-high three-game winning streak.
Pat Valaika gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead on a second-inning RBI single against Wacha.
Baltimore is 0-6 against the Rays this season, being outscored 48-21.
The Orioles have been swept away for the seventh time this season and have an AL-worst record of 22-42.
“We’ve got to keep playing, keep our heads up,” Baltimore shortstop Freddy Galvis said, “That’s it, man.”
WINDY TOWN SHOWDOWN
The teams with the top two AL records meet Monday night in Chicago when the Rays face the White Sox.
“It should be a really fun series,” Cash said. “It’s a talented team. You kind of saw it coming over the last couple of seasons. You saw how young they were, and now these guys have moved on. They added big chunks. Their pitch was great.
Orioles 3B Maikel Franco has been hitting free in three batting appearances and is 0 for 24 against the Rays this season. DH Ryan Mountcastle and CF Austin Hays are both 2 for 22 in the Seasonal Series.
Orioles: CF Cedric Mullins had a day off scheduled. … 1B Trey Mancini was hit in the right elbow by a pitch first but stayed in the game.
Spokes: 1B Ji-Man Choi (left groin stretched) could come back on Monday.
Orioles: Manager Brandon Hyde has said a pitcher will likely be called up from Triple-A Norfolk to start Monday night’s game in Cleveland. The Indians leave with RHP JC Mejía (1-1).
Spokes: RHP Tyler Glasnow (5-2) and White Sox RHP Lance Lynn (7-1) are the starters on Monday night.