BALTIMORE — In a game that began as a matchup of two of the American League’s ERA leaders, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Charlie Morton remained in that statistical standing while Baltimore Orioles left-hander John Means slipped in the worst outing of his all-star season.
The Rays split Saturday’s doubleheader at Camden Yards with a 12-4 victory in the nightcap, scoring their first six runs in six innings with Means on the mound. The runs allowed, as well as the three home runs Tampa Bay hit off him, were career worsts for Means.
Means (7-5) entered with a 2.50 ERA that ranked behind only Morton (11-2) for the AL lead (minimum 80 innings pitched) but left with a 2.94 mark.
Means’s rough start came on an already rough day for the Orioles’ rotation, with Dylan Bundy placed on the injured list with right knee tendinitis and Andrew Cashner traded to the Boston Red Sox.
Mike Brosseau, who hit his first career home run on a Means change-up during the all-star’s final start of the first half, followed with his second Saturday, a two-run homer in the second inning. Yandy Diaz added a solo shot in the fourth, ending Means’s six-start streak of allowing fewer than three earned runs.
The Rays struck for that many in the sixth alone.
In the first game of the doubleheader, outfielder Stevie Wilkerson, who mopped up the final inning of Friday’s beating at the hands of the Rays as an emergency pitcher, hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to make 2-1 winners out of the Orioles.
“They’re both good for the memory bank,” Wilkerson said of his pitching outing and his homer. “I’ll never forget either of those, and I’ll take today’s over yesterday’s for sure.
Aaron Brooks, making his debut with the Orioles (28-63) after being claimed off waivers from the Oakland Athletics before the all-star break, gave a glimpse of why they want him to start games. Brooks faced the minimum eight batters in 2⅔ innings, with only a hit batter blemishing his line.
Jimmy Yacabonis gave up a home run to Mike Zunino — the first batter he faced — and allowed a pair of singles before getting out of that third inning. But Yacabonis pitched three more frames with no damage to keep the Orioles close, and the pitchers who followed him didn’t allow another hit.