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Orioles recap: Birds complete doubleheader sweep with 8-6 come-from-behind win over Rays

Kevin Gausman made it look easy and Chris Tillman made it look hard, but the Orioles won both ends of their rain-makeup doubleheader against the slumping Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at Camden Yards and increased their lead in the American League East.

Gausman combined with Oliver Drake on a 5-0 shutout in the afternoon game and Tillman needed help from both the bullpen and the Orioles' power-laden lineup, which hammered four home runs to fuel an 8-6 comeback victory in the nightcap.

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The Orioles (44-30) won their fourth straight game to move a season-high 14 games over .500. The last-place Rays (31-42) have now lost 10 straight games to fall 12 1/2 games out of first.

Matt Wieters homered twice, starting with a towering two-run shot in the fourth inning that landed on Eutaw Street to pull the Orioles within one after they fell behind by four runs early on. Adam Jones lined his 15th homer into the left-field bleachers in the fifth to maintain the offensive momentum after the Rays scored two runs in the top of the inning. Chris Davis hit the third Orioles homer to lead off the sixth and the Orioles took the lead for the first time on RBI singles by Jones and Davis in the seventh.

Wieters would pad that lead in the bottom of the eighth with his second homer of the night and ninth of the season – this one landing on the flag court to give him his fifth career multihomer performance.

"It always feels good to hit the barrel [of the bat]," Wieters said. "That's what I'm focused on now, trying to hit the barrel as many times as possible. I was able to get a couple pitches up and drive it out."

Tillman struggled through five innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits, but emergency reliever T.J. McFarland (2-2) – who was called up just for this eventuality – came on to pitch two scoreless innings to get the victory. Brad Brach worked out of trouble to pitch a scoreless eighth and Zach Britton finished up to register his 23rd save in 23 opportunities.

"It's hard, winning two games in the major leagues," manager Buck Showalter said. "You look at the percentage of ones that are split or lose two. Sometimes you go into it just hoping your pitching staff stays intact and you're able to split and live to fight another day."

The Orioles needed just two pitchers to shut out the Rays in the rain-makeup half of the day-night doubleheader and really only needed a two-run rally in the second inning against Rays starter Matt Andriese (6-1) to supply all the offensive support necessary to get Gausman his first victory of the year.

Jonathan Schoop got it started with a leadoff double to left and Pedro Alvarez walked before J.J. Hardy stroked an RBI single to center. Catcher Francisco Pena cooled the rally a bit with a double-play ball, but Adam Jones brought Alvarez home from third with a lined single to center.

Pena provided an insurance run in the sixth with a run-scoring single and Alvarez made things much more comfortable with a two-run single in the seventh.

The series concludes Sunday when Orioles right-hander Tyler Wilson faces Rays lefty Drew Smyly at 1:35 p.m.

No homers needed in Game 1

Saturday's Game 1 win marked the seventh game at Camden Yards this season in which neither team homered, one fewer than was played in all of last season.

The Orioles, who are 6-1 in homerless home games this season, were 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position in Game 1 on Saturday.

"We put some good at-bats together," said Schoop, who was 2-for-4 in the first game of the doubleheader. "… Everybody contributes. Somebody does it one day, somebody different does it [another day]. That's how we're so good. … We can play small ball, too."

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The Orioles ended Saturday's doubleheader having hit a major league-leading 48 homers in June and leading the majors with 117 homers this season.

Reverse logic

In the nightcap, the smart money would have been riding on a low-scoring game, since Tillman came in with a 10-1 record and Jake Odorizzi has been the Rays' most consistent starting pitcher. But both pitchers struggled and at least one team scored in all eight complete innings.

Suspenseful review

Both teams had to sweat out a very important video review in the eighth inning of the second game after Rays pinch runner Nick Franklin was called out on a stolen-base attempt after Brach walked Hank Conger to lead off the inning with the Orioles up by a run. It was a very close play and none of the replays that were shown in the stadium gave a clear look at the play. But the New York review crew obviously saw something definitive, because they overturned the call and put Franklin in scoring position. It could have been a huge decision, but Brach worked out of the jam.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

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