6 Rays Pitchers Combine On 3-Hitter, Beat Orioles

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Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Enny Romero pitched well in his major league debut, combining with five relievers on a three-hitter as the AL wild card-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Sunday.

The Rays held their half-game edge over Cleveland in the race for the top wild card.

Tampa Bay beat Baltimore for the third time in the four-game series. The Orioles fell 4½ games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot.

Promoted from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day, Romero gave up Manny Machado’s leadoff single to start the game. But that was the only hit off Romero, who walked four and struck out nobody in 4 2-3 innings.

Brandon Gomes (3-1) replaced Romero with two on and two outs in the fifth and struck out Machado.

Fernando Rodney allowed Danny Valencia’s single and an RBI double by Matt Wieters with two outs in the ninth en route to his 36th save.

Dating to the final 11 innings of the Rays’ 5-4, 18-inning victory on Friday night, Tampa Bay pitchers limited Baltimore to two runs and 10 hits over 29 innings.

Scott Feldman (5-5) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.

David DeJesus put the Rays up 1-0 on a leadoff homer in the first. His first homer since June 13, which he hit for the Chicago Cubs, came on a 10-pitch at-bat.

Matt Joyce had a sacrifice fly and James Loney hit an RBI single during the sixth to make it 3-0.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, hitting .263 with 29 homers and 77 RBIS this season, was a late scratch due to flulike symptoms. He entered in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.

Tampa Bay center fielder Desmond Jennings, who reached on a bunt single in the sixth, left the game with left hamstring tightness after running toward second on a foul ball.

Romero went 11-7 with Double-A Montgomery before joining Durham for one regular-season start Sept. 2, in which he threw eight scoreless innings. The left-hander also pitched out of the bullpen for Durham on Sept. 13 in the International League playoffs.

Tampa Bay’s original scheduled Sunday starter, Jeremy Hellickson, came out of the bullpen Friday night and threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings to get win.

NOTES: Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon would like to see the wild-card playoff eventually go from one game to two out of three. For those worried about making the season longer, Maddon thinks playing a doubleheader during the series could be a viable option. … Orioles RHP Chris Tillman, who tweaked his ankle in Thursday’s game against Boston, remains scheduled to make his next start Tuesday. … The Rays are expected to activate RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) on Monday. … Tampa Bay purchased the contract of RHP J.D. Martin from Durham.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Click HERE for full recap and box score.

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