St. Petersburg, FL – Brian Matusz pitched into the eighth inning to help the Baltimore Orioles nip the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1, in the second contest of a three-game set.
Matusz (5-5) gave up just one run on two hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings for the Orioles, who snapped a six-game losing streak.
"Every time I step on the mound I want to give it my best," said Matusz. "But to get the win to end a losing streak feels really good. It's nice to be able to go out there and end it and get back to the winning side of things."
Endy Chavez hit a solo home run while Mark Reynolds scored the winner in the seventh inning for Baltimore, which moved back into a tie for first place in the AL East with Tampa Bay.
Drew Sutton drove in the lone run of the game for the Rays, who have dropped five of seven. Jeremy Hellickson (4-2) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on four hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
"I was just inconsistent today, that's all there is to it," said Hellickson. "My curveball was working and that was good because I've been having trouble with it lately."
Baltimore got the first run of the game in the third inning when Chavez hit his first homer of the year, a solo shot to right with two outs.
The Rays tied the game in the fifth inning. Sean Rodriguez led off with a double and moved to third on a Hideki Matsui groundout. With the infield in, Sutton hit a grounder to second and Rodriguez beat the throw home.
Baltimore went back on top in the seventh. With one out, Reynolds doubled to left, but Wilson Betemit then struck out. After Ryan Flaherty was awarded first base on a catcher's interference, Jake McGee took the mound. Robert Andino hit a grounder to third that Sutton fielded, but his rushed throw to first got past Carlos Pena and Reynolds scored. Flaherty was thrown out at home on the play.
Tampa went down in order in the seventh, but Matusz left in the eighth with one out and two runners on. Pedro Strop then walked B.J. Upton, but got Ben Zobrist to swing at the first pitch and hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
Jim Johnson set the Rays down quietly in the ninth for his 17th save of the season.
Both teams were hitless with runners in scoring position and both stranded five...Baltimore has now won three of the five games against Tampa Bay this season...Jake Arrieta will help Baltimore go for the series win on Sunday and Matt Moore will toe the rubber for Tampa Bay.