BALTIMORE (AP) — Alex Cobb took a two-hitter into the seventh inning, Matt Joyce drove in three runs and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 Tuesday night for their sixth win in seven games.
Wil Myers had two hits and two RBIs for the Rays, who lead the AL wild-card race and trail the first-place Red Sox by a half-game in the AL East, pending Boston’s late game in San Francisco.
Cobb (8-2) was making his second start since being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer on June 15. The right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, three hits and four walks in six-plus innings to win his fifth straight decision.
Cobb left after Baltimore used two walks and a single to load the bases with no outs in the seventh. Alex Torres got Brian Roberts to hit into a run-scoring, double play before striking out Nate McLouth to keep the Rays ahead 3-2.
Joyce doubled in two runs in the ninth off T.J. McFarland and Myers added a broken-bat, two-run single off Jim Johnson.
Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer in the bottom half before Fernando Rodney entered and got three outs for his 29th save.
Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) gave up three runs, two earned, eight hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-3 in five starts since July 20.
One night after getting 15 hits in a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay, Baltimore managed only five hits and lost for the sixth time in eight games.
The Rays will seek a three-game sweep Wednesday night. They have won seven of eight against the Orioles to take an 8-5 lead in the season series.
The two teams with the fewest errors in the majors each gave up an unearned run in the second inning. In the top half, Joyce walked, advanced on an errant pickoff throw by Gonzalez and scored on a two-out bloop by Yunel Escobar.
Baltimore tied it when Evan Longoria muffed a grounder and Flaherty singled in a run with two outs.
Tampa Bay went up 3-1 in the third. After Desmond Jennings walked and scored on a double by Ben Zobrist, Longoria singled and Joyce delivered a sacrifice fly.
Gonzalez worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by getting James Loney to bounce into a double play.
NOTES: Zobrist moved into a fifth-place tie with B.J. Upton on the team’s career RBI list with 447. Aubrey Huff is in fourth with 449. … Jeremy Hellickson, who’s 8-3 lifetime against Baltimore, starts for Tampa Bay in the series finale Wednesday night. LH Wei-Yin Chen will pitch for Baltimore. … The Orioles had won five straight over the Rays with Gonzalez as the starter. … McLouth went 0 for 5 and is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.