|10:10 AM PT11:10 AM MT12:10 PM CT1:10 PM ET13:10 ET17:10 GMT1:10 10:10 AM MST12:10 PM EST12:40 PM VEN21:10 UAE12:10 PM CT, September 2, 2019
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida Attendance: 10,566
Rays aim to gain ground as Orioles visit
The Tampa Bay Rays have answered a four-game skid by recording four straight victories to find themselves with a tenuous hold of the top American League wild-card position.
The Rays aim to strengthen their grasp on Monday when they open a three-game home series against a team that saw its postseason aspirations dashed long ago: the Baltimore Orioles.
Tampa Bay followed a four-homer barrage Saturday in a 9-6 win over Cleveland with a 14-hit display the following day to complete a series sweep. The 8-2 victory on Sunday, coupled with Oakland squandering a late lead in a 5-4 loss to the New York Yankees, catapulted the Rays (80-58) ahead of the Indians (79-58) and the Athletics (78-58) in the standings.
"We got off to the right start, set a tone ... really like how offensively we kept adding runs," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Something we are going to have to do the rest of the month."
Tampa Bay's Travis d'Arnaud drove in a pair of runs on Sunday, and he enters the series opener with a six-game hitting streak during which he is 9-for-22 with two homers, seven RBIs and four runs.
"We know we're all fortunate to be playing meaningful games in September, and we're all just having fun with it as much as we can," the 30-year-old veteran said. "Like today, we were able to sweep this postseason team ... and hopefully we can ride this out the rest of this month."
Rays left fielder Tommy Pham has collected multiple hits in six of his past nine games, including 2-for-4 efforts in each of his past two contests. The 31-year-old looks to continue that success versus the Orioles, against whom he is 19-for-60 (.317) with five doubles, three homers, 11 RBIs and eight runs this season.
Pham is 3-for-9 with a double in his career versus Baltimore's Monday starter, Asher Wojciechowski (2-7, 5.12 ERA). The right-hander fell to 0-4 in his past six trips to the mound on Wednesday after allowing five runs in four innings of an 8-4 loss at Washington.
Wojciechowski is no stranger to the Rays, against whom he is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three appearances (two starts) in his career -- all this season.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde knows his team has little room for error, and its success is due in large part to strong pitching performances.
"The games that we've won, our starters have given us a chance and our bullpen has held on to leads and gotten guys out," Hyde said. "The games we've lost, we just do a really nice job of battling back, and we're having a tough time holding leads."
Like Wojciechowski, Tampa Bay left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (11-3, 3.36 ERA) will see a familiar foe on Monday, as he has faced the Orioles on three occasions this season, including one start.
Yarbrough owns a 1-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in those meetings, with the win coming after he allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings during a 4-1 victory on July 14. All told, the 27-year-old is 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA in six career appearances (one starts) versus the Orioles.
Baltimore's Trey Mancini, who is 1-for-11 in his career against Yarborough, hit a two-run single Sunday in the Orioles 6-4 setback versus the Kansas City Royals. He improved to 6-for-14 (.429) with three runs over the past four games.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 2, 2019