ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Rookie Jeff
Niemann allowed one run over 7 1/3 innings for his 11th win of the
season, and Pat Burrell, Ben Zobrist and B.J. Upton hit solo homers as
the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Niemann (11-5) lost his shutout bid
when the last batter he faced, Brian Roberts, hit a solo homer with one
out in the eighth. The right-hander, who has won seven of his last
eight decisions, gave up seven hits and one walk, striking out five.
J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for his 14th save. Tampa Bay has won four straight after a five-game losing streak.
Chris Tillman (1-1) allowed the three
homers among seven hits over six-plus innings for the Orioles, who are
8-24 since the All-Star break and dropped to a season-high 24 games
under .500 (48-72).
Niemann worked out of a bases-loaded,
no-outs jam in the fifth. Shortstop Jason Bartlett dived to knock down
a liner by Cesar Izturis and threw home for a forceout. Roberts then
grounded into a double play.
Burrell put the Rays ahead 1-0 with his 12th homer in the fourth. He had a solo shot in Tuesday's 5-4 win over the Orioles.
Zobrist made it 2-0 with his 20th home run in the sixth. Three of the homers have come since the All-Star break.
Upton homered for the second straight game, putting the Rays up 3-0 with a leadoff shot in the seventh.
Baltimore has gone 3 of 18 with
runners in scoring position, including 1 of 6 Wednesday, over the past
two games. The Orioles are 4-32 in their last 36 road games against AL
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with two outs in the first, but failed to score when Burrell lined out to left.
Baltimore's Nick Markakis went 0-for-4 and had his stretch of reaching base in 38 consecutive games end. His
11-game hitting streak also ended.
NOTES: Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford is
11-for-20 with seven doubles over his last five games. … Orioles
closer Jim Johnson is scheduled to return Thursday after missing two
games for the birth of his daughter. … Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon
has been named one of four 2009 Lafayette Maroon Club Hall of Fame
selections. Maddon played three years of baseball at the college. …
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said 6-foot-9 rookie RHP Kam Mickolio
has the potential to be a closer in the future.