9th Inning Meltdown Prevents Rays From Sweeping Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays saw a ninth inning meltdown of epic proportions, as Jose Alvarado allowed six runs in just 2/3 of an inning to break a 3-3 tie, as the Baltimore Orioles held on for a 9-6 win Wednesday at Tropicana Field, snapping a four-game win streak.

Alvarado's troubles starts with a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Anthony Santander. Rio Ruiz sacrificed him to second with a bunt, and a wild pitch allowed him to take third. Pedro Severino's ground ball to shortstop Willy Adames allowed Santander to beat the throw home to break the tie, and Jonathan Villar's line drive scooted past Guillermo Heredia for an RBI triple and a 5-3 lead, and Trey Mancini's fielder's choice to Adames scored another run as catcher Mike Zunino failed to hold on to the throw home to make it 6-3.

Chance Sisco singled Mancini to third and Renato Nunez blast a three-run homer to cap the six-run inning.

Tampa Bay rallied in the bottom of the ninth, scoring three runs on a base hit by Mike Brosseau, a fielder's choice by Joey Wendle, and a RBI double by Heredia, and bringing the tying run to the plate in Tommy Pham. However, Pham struck out to end the game

The game was scoreless until the home half of the third, when Travis d'Arnaud's ground ball with runners on the corners was thrown wildly by Rio Ruiz to second, allowing all hands to be safe and Wendle to score.

Baltimore took the lead in the top of the fourth on a three-run homer by Rio Ruiz off Austin Pruitt, but the Rays rallied thanks to Brosseau's first big league homer, a fourth-inning solo shot that cut the deficit to 3-2, and an RBI single by Garcia in the sixth.

Tampa Bay had a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth, as d'Arnaud singled off Mychal Givens, and pinch-runner Kevin Kiermaier stole second base and went to third on a groundout by Pham. But a groundball back to Givens allowed him to make the tag on Kiermaier at the plate, one of four outs the Rays ran in to on the basepaths Wednesday.

The loss drops the Rays back to 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the AMerican League East as the two teams get ready for a four-game series in St. Petersburg beginning Thursday.

THURSDAY'S MATCHUP

Tampa Bay Rays (50-37) vs. New York Yankees (55-29), 5:10 pm first pitch, with coiverage on WDAE beginning at 4:00 with The Inside Pitch.

Rays starter: RHP Yonny Chirinos (7-4, 3.10 ERA)

Yankees starter: LHP J.A. Happ (7-4, 5.23 ERA)

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