MLB: After consecutive walk-off wins, Rays open series vs. surging O’s

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Another series with an American League East opponent should be exactly what the Baltimore Orioles want.

The Tampa Bay Rays visit Baltimore on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series, the first meeting this season between the teams.

The Orioles are coming off a series victory against the division-rival Boston Red Sox and hope to add to their recent dominance against AL East foes. Baltimore is 13-0-5 in the past 18 series against division members.

The Rays have some buzz going after consecutive walk-off victories entering the series.

“We’re resilient,” Tampa Bay infielder Richie Palacios said. “No matter what’s going on in the game, we have some dogs in this locker room and we’re going to fight hard until the very end.”

The Rays ended a 3-6 homestand with a 6-5, 12-inning victory against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday. Tampa Bay, which has won back-to-back games for the first time in nearly two weeks, will attempt to move back to .500 on Friday night.

The Orioles have won six of their past seven games.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson hit a grand slam in the Orioles’ 6-1 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday. Henderson, who is among the top home run hitters in the majors with 18, said it felt good to make solid contact after going four consecutive games without a homer.

“It was nice,” said Henderson, who became the fourth Baltimore player to hit 50 home runs before age 23. “It was good to see one finally up in the air.”

The Orioles have received widespread contributions this season, even for players who’ve gone through ruts. That was the case Wednesday night for infielder Ramon Urias, who provided a run-scoring single and a solo home run. He entered May batting .174 and is now up to .219.

“He has taken this so well,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It has been a tough year for him. He has been a really good teammate. Tried to stay positive. He plays really good defense.”

Baltimore right-hander Albert Suarez (2-0, 1.53 ERA) has worked his way back into the rotation, and he will get the start Friday. After about a month in the bullpen, he gave the Orioles four shutout innings in a 5-3 road victory against the Chicago White Sox last Saturday.

Suarez has gone 9 2/3 innings covering his past six outings without yielding a run. In his only career outing against the Rays, he gave up three runs in 4 2/3 innings without a decision in a 2016 road game while pitching for the San Francisco Giants.

Tampa Bay’s starter will be right-hander Aaron Civale (2-4, 5.72), who has had a miserable May: 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA in five starts. In three career starts against the Orioles, Civale is 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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