MLB: Baltimore Orioles extend lead on Tampa Bay Rays in AL East

By Sports Desk July 23, 2023

The Baltimore Orioles extended their lead to two games over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East with a 5-3 victory in Sunday's finale of an important four-game series between the division rivals.

Ryan O'Hearn snapped a 3-3 tie with a solo homer in the sixth inning to back another strong performance by the Baltimore bullpen as the Orioles took three of four from the still-sputtering Rays.

Tampa Bay entered July with a 6 1/2-game lead atop the division but has gone 4-14 thus far for the month. The Orioles, on the other hand, have won 12 of 15 since July 5.

Baltimore sealed its latest win with a combined 4 2/3 scoreless innings from three relievers. Mike Baumann (7-0) did not allow a hit in 2 2/3 innings and All-Star Felix Bautista struck out three in the ninth to record his 28th save. 

Gunnar Henderson had a two-run homer in the second inning for the Orioles and finished 2 for 4 along with O'Hearn.

Yandy Diaz went 2 for 5 for Tampa Bay and tied the contest in the fifth inning with a two-run homer off Orioles starter Tyler Wells.


Rangers overcome early deficit to avoid sweep by Dodgers

The Texas Rangers rallied from an early four-run deficit to hand the Los Angeles Dodgers an 8-4 loss in the finale of a three-game interleague series between division leaders.

After Max Muncy's first-inning grand slam put Texas in a 4-0 hole, the Rangers blasted rookie Emmett Sheahan for eight runs over 3 2/3 innings to bounce back from two lopsided losses at the hands of the National League West leaders.

Jonah Heim cut the deficit in half with a two-run double in the bottom of the first before Marcus Semien, Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Jung each delivered RBI singles off Sheahan in the second to put Texas up 5-4.

Leody Tavares added a two-run double in the third to stretch the lead, while Martin Perez overcame a shaky start to last six innings and improve to 8-3 on the season.

The Dodgers scored 27 runs in winning the series' first two games and kept the offence going when Muncy blasted his 24th homer of the season to stake Los Angeles to a quick 4-0 lead.

Perez settled down thereafter and held the Dodgers to just three hits and a walk over the next five innings. 

The win put the AL West-leading Rangers at 59-41, tying the franchise's best record after 100 games in a season set three times previously, most recently in 2012. 


Albies' late home run lifts Braves over Brewers

In another clash of division leaders, Ozzie Albies' clutch three-run homer in the eighth inning staked the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Down 2-1 entering the eighth, the Braves put two on against a usually dominant Milwaukee bullpen before Albies homered on the first pitch he saw from Elvis Peguero. The All-Star second baseman's 23rd homer of the season snapped a streak of 28 2/3 scoreless innings by Brewers relievers.

After Ben Heller worked a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Raisel Iglesias struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth as the NL East-leading Braves took two of three games from the NL Central-best Brewers.

Travis d'Arnaud added a solo homer and finished 2 for 4 for Atlanta, though star third baseman Austin Riley went 0 for 4 and had a streak of five consecutive games with a home run end.

Brice Turang had a solo home run for Milwaukee, which had its lead in the NL Central cut to a half-game over second-place Cincinnati after the Reds defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-3, on Sunday. The Brewers will host a three-game series against Cincinnati starting Monday.

Former Brave Julio Teheran allowed one run and just three hits over six innings for Milwaukee, while Atlanta starter Bryce Elder yielded two runs on four hits over six innings. 

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