photo credit: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays took a game they had well in hand, and made it a nail-biter.
Tampa Bay got three home runs in support of Erik Bedard, but had to hold on to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 Saturday.
Tampa Bay didn't take long to get on the board, as Desmond Jennings led off the game by blasting a Wei-Yin Chen offering deep into the seats in left for a 1-0 lead.
The Rays added two more an inning later, as Sean Rodriguez singled with one out ahead of Logan Forsythe, who sent a Chen pitch into the bullpens for his first home run as a Ray, extending the lead to 3-0.
Kevin Kiermaier got in the action in the fourth inning, as he followed a Forsythe single wit his fourth home run of the year, pushing the Rays' lead to 5-0 and ending Chen's afternoon after just 3 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, Bedard was for the most part masterful against his former team, pitching in to the eighth inning for the first time this season. He did not allow a run until the sixth, when Nick Markakis hit a solo homer off Bedard to cut the lead to four.
Tampa Bay's lead all but disappeared in the eighth, as J.J. Hardy led off the inning with a single, and Manny Machado ended Bedard's afternoon with a two-run blast off the left-field foul pole to cut the lead to 5-3.
Joe Maddon turned to Grant Balfour in the eighth, who gave up a one-out single to Delmon Young, followed by a base hit to Markakis. After getting Steve Pearce to pop out for the second out of the inning, Jake McGee was brought it to face Adam Jones, who singled in Young to make it a one-run game.
McGee then struck out Chris Davis, got Hardy to ground to first, then struck out Machado to strike out on a curveball to record his third save.
Tampa Bay can finish up with a series win with a victory in Sunday's finale. Alex Cobb (2-6, 4.10 ERA) will get the start against Miguel Gonzalez (4-5, 4.48 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35, with coverage on WDAE starting at 11:30 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.