Michael Perez's solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie, and gave Ryan Sherriff his first win in almost three years as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
Perez came into the night with just five hits on the year -- all singles -- but got a 2-0 fastball from reliever Mychal Givens and stroked it over the wall in straightaway center for his first home run of the year.
Baltimore started the game by plating a pair of unearned runs off Rays starter Trevor Richards in the first, as Cedric Mullins reached on a bunt single, and after Hunter Renfroe over-ran Hanser Alberto's base hit, the speedy center fielder was able to score from first base to make it 1-0, and two batters later, a fielder's choice grounder by Renato Nunez brought in Alberto to make it 2-0.
Brandon Lowe broke out of a 2 for 18 stretch in the third, unloading on a Asher Wojciechowski pitch and sending it to the back of the seats in right for his tenth home run of the season.
Richards worked around a pair of runners in the third, and two runners in scoring position in the fourth to keep the game tied, but left one out into the fifth with runners on the corners. But Ryan Thompson got the starter off the hook by striking out Nunez and getting Chance Sisco to fly out to end the threat.
Tampa Bay took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fifth loading the bases on a double by Manuel Margot off Wojciechowski, and a walk to Austin Meadows and a hit by pitch of Lowe by Tanner Scott. Yandy Diaz, pinch-hitting for Joey Wendle grounded into a fielder's choice to bring in Margot to make it 3-2.
Baltimore tied the game with two out in the seventh, as an error by Diaz allowed Alberto to reach, and after a wild pitch by Pete Fairbanks, Anthony Santander singled in the second baseman to knot the game back up at three apiece.
Sherriff earned his first big-league win since September 30, 2017, when he was with the St. Louis Cardinals, by working a perfect eighth inning, and Diego Castillo followed with a perfect ninth to earn his first save of 2020 and become the tenth different Rays pitcher this season to record a save.
The win, coupled with Atlanta sweeping the New York Yankees in a doubleheader, increases Tampa Bay's lead in the American League East to 2.5 games.
Tampa Bay can finish off a sweep of the series with a victory Thursday, when Ryan Yarbrough (0-2, 4.45 ERA) takes on John Means (0-2, 10.13 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 5:30 with The Inside Pitch.
NOTES: Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier left the game during his at bat in the fifth with back spasms. He was replaced in the lineup by Willy Adames, who struck out against Miguel Castro to end the inning. Manager Kevin Cash said after the game the diagnosis received on LHP Jalen Beeks was "unfortunate news for sure." Beeks was placed on the 45-day injured list Wednesday with a left elbow sprain, and all signs point to the left-hander undergoing Tommy John surgery.