BALTIMORE — Anthony Santander went 5 for 5 with a homer, Renato Núñez drove in three runs and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 Sunday for a split of the four-game series.
After beating Baltimore twice to move atop the AL wild-card standings, Tampa Bay was outscored 15-4 by the team with the second-worst record in the majors.
Rays opener Diego Castillo (2-7) gave up one run over two innings before Jalen Beeks was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits in five innings.
Santander had his first career five-hit game, Jonathan Villar homered and DJ Stewart, along with Núñez, each had three of Baltimore’s 16 hits.
Núñez singled in a first-inning run and hit a two-run double in the third before scoring on a single by Stewart for a 4-0 lead.
Tampa Bay answered with an unearned run in the fourth and loaded the bases with one out before Dylan Bundy (6-13) got Joey Wendle to bounce into a double play, one of four turned by the Orioles.
Villar homered in the bottom half and Santander added an RBI single to make it 6-1.
With 28 steals along with his career-high 20 home runs, Villar has the eighth 20-20 season in Orioles history — the first since Manny Machado in 2015.
Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail was ejected by first base umpire John Bacon, who ruled that a check-swing by Avisail Garcia in the fifth inning was not a strike. Brocail thought otherwise and was tossed for the second time this season.
Rays: LHP José Alvarado was placed on the 10-day injured list with elbow inflammation following an ineffective, abbreviated outing Saturday night. “He was fine during the game,” manager Kevin Cash said Sunday. “I think his elbow flared up once he was off the mound.” Alvarado will be examined Monday in Florida, Cash said. … Wendle (right wrist inflammation) was activated from the IL and started at third base. “Definitely having an up and down season — mostly down,” said Wendle, who came in with a .206 batting average over 46 games after hitting .300 in 139 games last year. He’s been on the IL three times, twice with a sore wrist, and will be used sporadically until it’s certain his wrist is close to 100 per cent.
Orioles: 3B Hanser Alberto was removed from the game after being struck in the head by Eric Sogard’s knee on a play at second base. The team described the injury as “head and neck discomfort.” … LHP John Means was placed on the family medical emergency list. He pitched Saturday night, and the Orioles hope to have him back for their upcoming weekend series in Kansas City. RHP Tayler Scott was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.
Rays: After taking Monday off, Tampa Bay opens a three-game set at Houston. A prime pitching matchup on Tuesday features Charlie Morton (13-5, 2.85 ERA) against Astros ace Justin Verlander (15-5, 2.77).
Orioles: A day off Monday is followed by a two-game road series against the Washington Nationals, an NL contender. The neighbouring teams split two games in Baltimore last month, but for now this isn’t a series either club circles on the schedule. “As we get better the rivalry will mean more,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.