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Rays rough up Orioles All-Star John Means in 12-4 win to split doubleheader

In a game that began as a matchup of two of the American League’s ERA leaders, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Charlie Morton remained in that statistical standing while Orioles left-hander John Means slipped in the worst outing of his All-Star season.

The Rays split Saturday’s doubleheader at Camden Yards with a 12-4 victory, scoring their first six runs in six innings with Means on the mound. The runs allowed, as well as the three home runs Tampa Bay hit off him, were career highs for Means.

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Means (7-5) entered with a 2.50 ERA that ranked behind only Morton (11-2) for the AL lead (minimum 80 innings pitched) but left with a 2.94 mark. He declined to blame his All-Star experience for his performance, adding the poor start gives him the opportunity to learn how to come back from such a performance.

“It’s just part of getting that experience up here," Means said. "Just kind of getting the experience of coming back from a rough outing like that. Coming back the same person that I was and just re-establishing it.”

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Means’ rough start came on the heels of an already rough day for the Orioles rotation, with Dylan Bundy placed on the injured list with right knee tendinitis and Andrew Cashner traded to the Boston Red Sox. Even with both of Saturday’s games going against the trend, the Orioles (28-64) are 22-28 in games Means, Cashner or Bundy starts and 6-36 otherwise.

Mike Brosseau, who hit his first career home run on a Means changeup during the All-Star’s final start of the first half, followed with his second Saturday, a two-run homer in the second inning. Yandy Diaz added a solo shot in the fourth, ending Means’ six-start streak of allowing fewer than three earned runs.

The Rays struck for that many in the sixth alone. Travis d’Arnaud led off with a double, then moved to third when shortstop Jonathan Villar got Diaz with a diving stop, one of his two run-preventing plays of the night after lunging to catch a liner in the fourth. The latter play only delayed a run, as Avisail Garcia followed with an RBI single and came home on Nate Lowe’s two-run home run off Means.

“I thought Means threw the ball pretty good," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "I thought they cheated a couple fastballs in. Ball was carrying good and they hit it in that left-center field area where it’s pretty short. I think his breaking ball was real good tonight. Had a really good changeup earlier in the game.”

Morton, meanwhile, went mostly unscathed outside of some two-out trouble in the fourth. He finished with six two-run innings as his ERA rose to 2.35, still tops in the AL.

Stevie stays hot

After pitching a perfect mopup inning Friday and hitting a game-winning home run in Saturday’s first game, utility man Stevie Wilkerson kept his hot streak going in the nightcap.

He supplied the Orioles’ first hit off Morton with a double in the third. After Chris Davis walked to load the bases with two outs in the fourth, Wilkerson smoked the first pitch he saw into right for a two-run single.

Hanser Alberto added a home run in the seventh, his first since May 20. Between homers, he hit .325. Villar scored Rio Ruiz with an RBI single in the ninth.

No relief

On the roster as the Orioles’ 26th man, right-hander David Hess made his first relief appearance since being optioned to Triple-A Norfolk last month and dealt with many of the same problems that sent him there in the first place.

Hess headed to the minors among the AL leaders in home runs allowed and promptly surrendered one to Tommy Pham in the seventh, then battled control while escaping damage in the eighth.

Hess was sent back to Norfolk after the game.

Tayler Scott, acquired on waivers from the Seattle Mariners on June 25, made his team debut after joining the roster when Bundy was put on the IL, becoming the 33rd pitcher and 48th player the Orioles have used. He allowed back-to-back home runs to Lowe and Brosseau in the ninth as both recorded the first multihomer games of their careers.

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