After frantically making up five games in five days in their last-second push to catch the wildcard-leading Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays probably figured Tuesday night would offer a break. Facing soft-throwing righthander Alfredo Simon and a Baltimore Orioles team mired in a three-game slump, the matchup seemed like a mere formality. But as the old saying goes, that's why they play the games.
Simon pitched one of his best games of the season and Orioles catcher Matt Wieter broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run bomb off J.P. Howell to crash the Rays back to Earth with a surprising 4-2 loss. Troy Patton and Jim Johnson slammed the door with a perfect ninth inning, sending the Rays to four games in back of the Red Sox after Boston's dominant victory over Toronto.
Rays third basemen Evan Longoria nailed a two-run homer to deep left field in the sixth, but that would be all Tampa Bay could muster as the team abandoned 12 runners on base.
Simon pitched seven innings of two-run ball with a season-high nine strikeouts in the no-decision. Rays ace David Price fared equally well, giving up two runs and four hits over six-and-two-thirds innings.