Orioles rally to defeat Rays in series opener

Anthony Santander and Pedro Severino hit back-to-back homers, and Hanser Alberto added one for the second straight game as the host Baltimore Orioles scored a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game series Friday night.

Santander hit a game-tying two-run homer in the middle of the contest. The game started late thanks to a 58-minute rain delay.

Tampa Bay scored the game’s first two runs, one in the first off former Ray Alex Cobb and another in the third off the same pitcher. The Rays made it 1-0 on Yoshi Tsutsugo’s two-out double in the first and increased the lead to 2-0 on a Hunter Renfroe double in the third.

Baltimore then began to rally, taking the lead with a three-run fourth. Santander tied the game on a two-run homer, and Severino gave the Orioles a 3-2 lead by following with a homer to deep center.

Santander’s shot to center just nicked the top of the glove of the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier and slipped over the fence. The Rays tied it on a Brandon Lowe homer in the fifth before Santander snapped the deadlock with an RBI single in the bottom half for a 4-3 lead.

Baltimore then made it 5-3 after loading the bases in the seventh against Ryan Thompson, and Rio Ruiz hit a soft grounder to Ji-Man Choi, charging from first. Choi threw home but it was high for an error — and Renato Nunez scored.

Alberto then hit a solo shot in the eighth.

Paul Fry (1-0) earned the victory for the Orioles in relief while Pete Fairbanks (1-1) took the loss. Cole Sulser earned his second save.

The two starters didn’t last long. Cobb went four innings for Baltimore, and Blake Snell, who is building up his arm after surgery, went three-plus.

The Orioles finally got Chris Davis back, albeit briefly, into the lineup. Davis was being watched for COVID-19, according to MLB.com, after displaying a higher temperature two days ago — but said he never had one.

MLB.com said Davis reported he had “at least eight” negative COVID-19 tests since Wednesday, but was held back from the team. He came in as a pinch-hitter in the fourth and went 0-for-2.