ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- Kevin Kiermaier's three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning erased a 3-2 deficit, as the Tampa Bay Rays earned their third straight win, defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of their three-game series 6-3 Monday at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore had just taken the lead in the top of the sixth, as Chaz Roe allowed a double to Renato Nunez, a wild pitch, and a single by Pedro Severino that tied the game, and after a groundout by Hanser Alberto and a strikeout by Keon Broxton, Adam Kolarek gave up a base hit to pinch-hitter Rio Ruiz that brought on Severino that broke the tie.
But after scoring a pair of first-inning runs on Orioles starter Tom Eshelman in his Major League debut, it would take a rally against the Baltimore bullpen to regain the advantage. Branden Kline replaced Eshelman and walked Ji-Man Choi, then allowed a base hit to Avisail Garcia in front of Kiermaier, who got a 98 MPH fastball and sent it to straightaway center field for his 10th home run of the year.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead on Esdhelman in the bottom of the first, as Austin Meadows singled to start the game and Brandon Lowe drew a walk. Yandy Diaz hit into a fielder's choice that erased Lowe, but Choi drove in Meadows with his first of two RBI singles on the evening, and Garcia followed with a base hit of his own one batter later.
After two scoreless innings from Ryne Stanek, Ryan Yarbrough, working on three days rest, allowed a run on four hits in three innings of work.
Kolarek (3-2) picked up the win as he got the final out of the sixth. Oliver Drake and Emilio Pagan each worked a perfect inning of relief, while Jose Alvarado put up a zero in the ninth to earn his seventh save.
The win drew the Rays one half game closer to the idle Yankees in the American League East, as they now trail New York by 6.5 games.
Tampa Bay Rays (49-36) vs. Baltimore Orioles (24-60), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Charlie Morton (8-2, 2.43 ERA)
Orioles starter: RHP Asher Wojciechowski (8-2, 3.61 ERA at AAA)