Tampa Bay ace David Price will try to become baseball's first 14-game winner on Wednesday as the Rays and Baltimore Orioles square off in the second leg of a three-game set at Camden Yards.
The Rays took the opener of their nine-game road trip on Tuesday, when Jeremy Hellickson pitched into the seventh inning to record his first win in more than two months as Tampa held off the Orioles, 3-1.
Brooks Conrad belted a go-ahead two-run homer in the fifth inning for the Rays, who snapped a two-game skid. Jeff Keppinger added an RBI single in the sixth.
Hellickson (5-6), who had lost his previous six decisions covering a span of nine starts, allowed three hits, including a homer to Adam Jones in the fourth inning. The right-hander didn't walk a batter and had four strikeouts to post his first triumph since May 16 against Boston.
The Orioles, who had just three hits and have lost two in a row, continued their woes at the plate, especially in clutch opportunities. They went 0-for-4 with men in scoring position and are batting .144 (14-for-97) in such situations in their last 14 games.
Wei-Yin Chen (8-6) allowed four hits and three runs over 6 2/3 innings for Baltimore and has lost four of his last five decisions.
"It's tough," said Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. "It's two in a row where our starters have gone out there and given us a good effort and a chance to win the game. That's all we can ask of them."
Baltimore is currently in second place in the AL East, seven games behind the New York Yankees but just a game clear of the Rays, who can catch them tonight behind Price, the All-Star who has a solid 2.58 ERA in 10 career starts versus the O's.
Price has been especially dominant during his last six overall starts, amassing a 5-0 mark with a 1.91 ERA, and is coming off an outing in which he hurled seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits against Cleveland in a 6-0 Rays win.
The O's will counter with 28-year-old rookie Miguel Gonzalez, who has performed well over his first three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA.
Tampa Bay has won four of seven meeting with Baltimore this season, but the Orioles took two of three games from the Rays at Camden Yards from May 11-13.