St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Kevin Millwood worked seven shutout innings as the Baltimore Orioles took a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game set.
The loss has temporarily put Tampa Bay in a tie with New York for the top spot in the AL East, but the Yankees are currently playing Toronto. The Rays close the regular season with four games in Kansas City, starting on Thursday, while the Yankees play three games in Boston beginning on Friday.
Millwood (4-16) gave up just two hits and three walks, and struck out seven. Felix Pie hit a two-run triple in the seventh for the Orioles, who had dropped five of six.
Jeff Niemann (11-8) was handed the loss despite giving up just two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts over seven innings. Brad Hawpe had a single and a walk for the Rays, who have dropped three of their last four.
Nick Markakis led off the seventh with a walk and moved to second on Adam Jones’ single three batters later. Pie then followed with a triple over the head of Matt Joyce in right field for a 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay had just one hit and two walks through the first six innings, but got a leadoff walk from Ben Zobrist followed by a single from Carl Crawford to start the bottom of the seventh. Dan Johnson then moved both runners into scoring position with a weak groundout to first. Millwood, though, got Carlos Pena to fly out to shallow center and, after intentionally walking Joyce, got B.J. Upton to strike out and end the inning.
Jim Johnson came on for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Hawpe, who was replaced on base by Desmond Jennings. After Reid Brignac flied out, Jennings was caught stealing and John Jaso struck out to end the frame.
Koji Uehara set the Rays down in order in the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
Tampa Bay took 11 of the 18 games with Baltimore this season…The Orioles play their final series of the season at home as they start a four-game set against Detroit on Thursday…Niemann fell to 4-3 against the Orioles while Millwood improved to 3-3 against Baltimore.