- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Mikie Mahtook has done something no other Tampa Bay Rays rookie has ever done.

Mahtook tied a team record with his five hits, Grady Sizemore had a three-run double during a six-run fifth inning and the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-6 Friday night.

“Mikie Mahtook, what a day,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s awesome.”

It’s the eighth time a Tampa Bay player has had five hits in one game, but the initial time for a first-year player.

“Obviously you want to focus on the now and what you can do to help the team,” Mahtook said. “My goal is to make this team next year out of camp and not ever have to go back to Triple-A. Hopefully my progress and results are helping out now.”

Mahtook is hitting .417 (15 for 36) in 14 games since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on Sept. 1.

Baltimore, still 4 1-2 games behind Houston for the second AL wild card, lost for the third time in 10 games. Steve Pearce homered twice for the Orioles, who would have to jump over the Astros, Minnesota, the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland to claim the final AL postseason spot.

“I know we’re a longshot,” Pearce said. “We’ve got to keep fighting.”

Drew Smyly (3-2) allowed five runs and four hits over 5 2-3 innings for the Rays. Brad Boxberger gave up a solo homer to Pearce in the ninth en route to his 35th save in 41 chances.

Sizemore ended rookie Tyler Wilson’s night with his one-out double in the fifth that gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead. After James Loney had a two-run double off Chaz Roe, Nick Franklin hit an RBI double that dropped between three defenders in shallow center field to make it 8-3.

The Rays improved to 3-5 on their 10-game homestand.

Wilson (2-2), making his first start since Aug. 3 and third this year, gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Pearce got Baltimore within 8-5 on a two-run shot during the sixth that chased Smyly. Pearce, who is from nearby Lakeland Florida, has 10 homers in 37 games against the Rays.

“We didn’t do as much offensively as the runs look like, but we would like to take advantage of six runs,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Smyly has allowed four or more runs in four of seven starts since returning from a torn left labrum. He didn’t give up a run in the other three.

J.J. Hardy put the Orioles up 3-0 in the second with his first homer since July 29 and eighth this year. He entered hitless in seven at-bats against Smyly.

Tim Beckham cut the Rays deficit to 3-2 in the bottom of the second on his two-run shot.


Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (right shoulder) will have a bullpen session Sunday and could throw to hitters Tuesday or Wednesday.

Rays: Reliever Xavier Cedeno (left side) could return Saturday. … OF Desmond Jennings, who was nearing a return from a left knee injury, will not play again this season due to an infected tooth that required surgery.


It was Pearce’s third multihomer game. … He has six homers in 19 games since returning from a left oblique injury. … Has seven homers in 21 games at Tropicana Field. .. . The two homers gave him 51 in his career.


Mahtook had one five-hit game in the minors, coming April 14 with Durham.


Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (9-7) and Rays RHP Erasmo Ramirez (10-5) are Saturday night’s starters. Ramirez lost a no-hit bid Monday night against the New York Yankees when Carlos Beltran had a leadoff single in the eighth.

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