Brandon Lowe hit a three-run home run to cap a five-run first inning as the Tampa Bay Rays continued their surge with an 8-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Lowe made it 5-0 when he hammered an 0-1 slider by Josh Rogers (1-2) into the right-field seats.
The rookie second baseman's fourth homer helped Tampa Bay (78-64) move 14 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season. The Rays also matched the 2008 team record by recording their 11th straight home win.
Lowe's homer also helped the Rays win for the 16th time in their last 19 games. During that stretch, Tampa Bay has outscored foes 111-57.
C.J. Cron started the five-run inning with an RBI double to left field and scored the second run on a single up the middle by Willy Adames.
Mallex Smith collected three hits, reached four times and stole home in the second inning.
It was Smith's 31st stolen base, his first steal of home plate and first by a Rays player since Desmond Jennings on July 3, 2012.
Carlos Gomez made it 7-0 by homering on the first pitch of the sixth. Tommy Pham extended his hitting streak to 13 games and added a run-scoring double in the eighth.
The Rays went with an "opener" at pitcher for the 44th time, and Ryne Stanek was used for the 25th time in that capacity. He issued three walks and recorded an out while throwing 15 pitches.
Yonny Chirinos (4-5) allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings after replacing Stanek.
Chirinos replaced Stanek after a walk to Jonathan Villar. Chirinos ended the inning when Smith made a running catch on a liner by Chris Davis in left field.
Jace Peterson hit a two-run triple in the seventh and scored on a sacrifice fly by Caleb Joseph for the Orioles, who fell to 41-102 and lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Rogers was moved up to replace Alex Cobb, who was scratched due to a blister. In the left-hander's third career start, Rogers was tagged for six runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings.
--Field Level Media