Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier slugged a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, leading the Rays to a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Kiermaier launched the decisive shot off reliever Branden Kline (1-4), who entered in the bottom of the sixth with the Orioles up 3-2.
Ji-Man Choi recorded two hits and two RBIs for Tampa Bay, and Avisail Garcia had two hits, an RBI and a run.
Adam Kolarek (3-2) earned the win in relief. Ryne Stanek served as the opener for the Rays for the 24th time this season and pitched two scoreless innings.
Closer Jose Alvarado notched his seventh save with a scoreless ninth.
Baltimore’s Renato Nunez was 2-for-4 with a double and a run. Jonathan Villar had a single and a double, and Pedro Severino, Hanser Alberto and Rio Ruiz each had an RBI single.
Orioles starter Tom Eshelman, promoted from Triple-A Norfolk, made his major league debut and received a no-decision. He worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, but tossed four scoreless after Tampa Bay tallied two times in the first.
The Orioles acquired Eshelman, 25, from the Philadelphia Phillies on June 10 in exchange for international signing bonus slots.
The Rays grabbed the lead with four singles in the bottom of the first — their first time scoring in the opening inning since June 16.
Choi singled to score leadoff hitter Austin Meadows, and Garcia followed with a single that sent Yandy Diaz home for a 2-0 lead.
Alberto looped an RBI single in the fourth to trim the Rays’ edge to 2-1, but reliever Ryan Yarbrough recorded a strikeout and a flyout to end the frame.
Nunez opened the top of the sixth with a double and scored on Severino’s single to tie the game at 2-2 off reliever Chaz Roe.
Facing southpaw Kolarek later in the inning, lefty pinch hitter Ruiz grounded an RBI single to left to give Baltimore its first lead at 3-2.
In the bottom of the inning, Choi drew a leadoff walk from Kline, and Garcia singled. Kiermaier then belted a 97 mph fastball on a 3-1 count out to dead center, dramatically dropping his bat as he completed his swing.
Kiermaier’s 10th homer — estimated at 417 feet — put the Rays back out front 5-3 and chased Kline, who failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.
Choi pushed the lead to 6-3 in the seventh with a run-scoring single after Diaz singled and stole second base.
–Field Level Media
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