Rays look for first win of series vs. Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles have been on a roll over the past few weeks, going 12-4 over their past 16 games dating back to May 23.

They haven’t lost a series since getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in a three-game set from May 20-22, winning four of their five series since and splitting the other. Those wins include the series they’ll wrap up on Monday, when they close out a four-game visit to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Orioles claimed the series Sunday with a 9-2 victory. Adley Rutschman went 3-for-5 and drove in six, including a grand slam.

The 26-year-old, who leads all Baltimore regulars with a .306 batting average, is batting .359 since June 1 and has at least one hit in all but two games since May 22 with 21 RBIs. He has six multi-hit efforts in his past 17 outings.

“I think Adley’s one of the first guys you want up in any situation,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Just the at-bats he takes, he can really hit. You’re always happy when he’s up at the plate.”

Jordan Westburg was also 3-for-5 on Sunday and is 6-for-14 in a three-game hitting streak. Gunnar Henderson, who has hits in four straight games, went 2-for-4 and has five hits in his past 19 at-bats.

The Orioles are also getting things done on the mound. In the three games of the series thus far, the starters have gone at least five innings, and the bullpen has combined for zero runs on six hits.

“As a team, collectively, I think you see guys just continually getting a little bit better each day,” Rutschman said. “That’s why it’s fun to watch. Like, you see guys continuously improving because they’re just so committed to their process.”

Grayson Rodriguez was perfect through five innings on Sunday. Baltimore will turn to righty Corbin Burnes (6-2, 2.26 ERA) for the finale. It’ll be his first career appearance against Tampa Bay.

The Rays have lost three straight after a three-game winning streak and will try to salvage a series against the Orioles for the second time in eight days. On June 2, they closed out their three-game visit to Baltimore with a 4-3 victory.

Tampa Bay struggled to get on base Sunday. A leadoff walk in the sixth gave them their first baserunner and Yandy Diaz connected for the first hit in the same inning. They scored twice in the sixth to pull within a run, snapping a stretch of 17 scoreless innings that dated back to Friday.

“They’re grinding,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “They’re not having much luck at the plate. We’ve haven’t had a lot of base runners.”

They’ve been outscored 20-5 through the three games and 93-57 over their past 18, dropping 12 of those contests. The Rays have fallen to last place in the American League East, the latest they’ve been in that spot since the end of the 2016 season.

“You have good times and you have bad times,’ Diaz said through an interpreter. “It’s normal for it to be frustrating. We’re going through some bad moments right now. We’re all getting frustrated as well.”

Ryan Pepiot (4-2, 3.96) will face the Orioles for the first time in his career. He leads all Rays starters in batting average against (.185).

–Field Level Media