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Orioles beat Rays, clinch first playoff spot since 2016

Sep 17, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8) and right fielder Josh Lowe (15) celebrate after a home run during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

Adley Rutschman scored on Cedric Mullins sacrifice fly in the 11th inning and the Baltimore Orioles clinched their first playoff appearance since 2016 with a 5-4 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

The Orioles (93-56) earned a split of the four-game series and increased their lead over the Rays (92-59) to two games in the American League East. With the Texas Rangers losing to the Cleveland Guardians, the Rays locked up their fifth consecutive playoff berth.

Ryan O’Hearn’s first career sacrifice bunt moved Rutschman to third leading off the 11th against Jake Diekman (0-2). Mullins then followed with a deep fly to center.

DL Hall (2-0) pitched a scoreless 11th inning for the Orioles.

The Rays took a 4-3 lead in the 10th when runner Manuel Margot scored on a Harold Ramirez ground out, but the Orioles tied it on Rutschman’s two out single in the bottom half.

With Baltimore trailing 3-2 in the ninth, Austin Hays singled with two outs against Pete Fairbanks. With pinch runner Jorge Mateo going, Adam Frazier doubled down the left-field line and Mateo came around with the tying run.

The Rays had taken a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning on back-to-back home runs by Tristan Gray — his first in the Majors — and Christian Bethancourt, who hit his 10th of the season.

Rutschman’s solo homer in the bottom of the eighth pulled the Orioles within 3-2. It was his 19th blast of the season.

The Rays appeared to add a run in the ninth when Josh Lowe doubled and was later called safe at home on a fielder’s choice. The Orioles challenged and the play was overturned after a video review.

Brandon Lowe hit his 21st homer of the season for the Rays.

Baltimore starter Dean Kremer allowed a run on five hits in five innings of work. He struck out five and walked two.

Tampa Bay’s Zack Littell lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up a run on four hits. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

The Rays took a quick 1-0 when Brandon Lowe, the second batter in the first inning, homered to right center against Kremer.

Baltimore tied it in the fourth. O’Hearn ended up with a double after he hit a shot that was deflected into left field by Littell. O’Hearn went to third when Mullins grounded out and scored when Hays lined a single to left.

–Field Level Media

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