BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) — Joey Wendle hit a pair of homers, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs to lead the Tampa Bay Rays over the Baltimore Orioles 12-8 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Austin Meadows and Jordan Luplow also homered for Tampa Bay, which finished 18-1 against Baltimore this year. The AL East-leading Rays have beaten Baltimore 12 straight times, tying a franchise record they set against the Orioles in 2008.
“That team over there plays hard all the time,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said about Baltimore. “To continue coming back today was a really good example of that. Sometimes it just goes that way. I don’t think any of us can put our finger on it. You applaud their effort.”
With the Rays leading 6-4 in the seventh inning, Wendle broke open the game when he hit a 1-1 pitch from Paul Fry over the right-field fence for his third career grand slam. Wendle had gone 50 games without a homer before going deep in consecutive at-bats.
“It feels good,” Wendle said. “I’m starting to see the ball a little bit better. I’m making some better contact. Great team win and great to be able to contribute.”
Tampa Bay scored 10 or more runs against Baltimore six times.
Chris Archer made just his second start since April 10 for the Rays after being sidelined with a forearm injury. Archer had to leave his previous outing in the second inning on Aug. 22 against the Yankees because of a hip issue. He managed to throw four innings, allowing two runs with four hits and six strikeouts.
“I felt good overall,” Archer said. “We did a great job of managing it and not going crazy with the amount of pitches but not capping it too early.”
JT Chargois (5-0) picked up his second consecutive win in relief.
The Rays took an early 2-0 lead against Orioles rookie starter Spenser Watkins (2-7) on a pair of RBI singles by Randy Arozarena and Wendle.
Baltimore cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half of the inning on a run-scoring single by Austin Hays.
Luplow answered in the second with a towering, solo home run off the left-field foul pole.
Mountcastle pulled the Orioles to within 3-2 with a homer to left, prompting Archer to throw his glove down in frustration.
Meadows extended the lead to 5-2 with a two-run shot in the sixth. Wendle followed with another homer over the right-field scoreboard that ended Watkins’ afternoon.
Watkins has allowed 36 runs and 49 hits over his last seven starts (30 2/3 innings).
“It’s my first taste of the big leagues,” Watkins said. “I’m learning a lot going through the ups and downs, learning how to advance and get better each week.”
Rays shortstop Wander Franco went 2 for 4 and has reached base in 29 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors and the longest by a rookie in club history.
Rays: DH Nelson Cruz and INF Yandy Diaz got the day off.
Orioles: RHP Hunter Harvey (lat strain) has made three rehab appearances with Triple-A Norfolk but isn’t ready to be activated. “He had a little bit of soreness after his last outing,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Rays: RHP Luis Patino (3-3, 4.53 ERA) will start the series opener Monday night at home against the Red Sox after getting pushed back a day. Patino has thrown 81 innings between the Rays and Triple-A Durham this season, compared to just 17 1/3 last season.