The Tampa Bay Rays hope to finish the season with four straight wins as they go for a three-game sweep of the slumping Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. The Rays routed the Orioles in the opener before holding on for a 4-3 victory on Saturday as closer Alex Colome pushed his major league-leading total to 47 saves, leaving him one shy of matching the franchise record set in 2012 by Fernando Rodney.
Logan Morrison recorded a single for Tampa Bay in the victory and remains at 38 homers - the third-most in franchise history behind Carlos Pena, who is second at 29 and also owns the club record of 46 - which he set in 2007. Blake Snell looks to end his season on a high note when he takes the mound for the Rays (79-82) against Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman, who has registered 17 strikeouts in 13 scoreless innings during two victories over Tampa Bay this season. The Orioles (75-86) continue to struggle down the stretch with four straight losses and a 4-18 record since being three games over .500 and in the middle of the American League wild-card race on Sept. 5. J.J. Hardy, who could play his final game in a Baltimore uniform on Sunday, has recorded three multi-hit performances in eight contests since coming off the disabled list.
TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Baltimore), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (11-11, 4.81 ERA) vs. Rays LH Blake Snell (4-7, 4.27)
Gausman has allowed fewer than two runs in four of his last six starts but is just 2-2 during that stretch after giving up six over four innings at Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The 26-year-old LSU product is 6-4 with a 3.59 ERA since the All-Star Game as opposed to 5-7 with a 5.85 mark before the break. Trevor Plouffe is 4-for-9 with a homer versus Gausman, who is 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 career appearances (11 starts) against the Rays.
Snell struggled against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, when he permitted four runs on four hits and four walks without recording an out in the second inning. The 24-year-old Seattle native had posted five quality starts in his previous eight outings, going 4-0 in that span. Adam Jones could miss Sunday with a leg injury but is 3-for-5 with a homer against Snell, who is 0-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two career starts versus Baltimore.
1. Baltimore DH Pedro Alvarez, who spent most of the season in the minors, is 9-for-23 with four RBIs over his last seven games.
2. Tampa Bay SS Adeiny Hechavarria is 6-for-12 at the plate in his last three games and has not committed an error since July 30.
3. Orioles rookie 1B-OF Trey Mancini went 0-for-2 with two walks on Saturday, putting an end to his 17-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Orioles 4, Rays 2