BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles have too much else going on to be overly excited about ending their miserable run of 14 consecutive losing seasons.
Manny Machado blooped an RBI single that eluded left fielder Matt Joyce’s desperate dive with two outs in the 14th inning, and Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Thursday to complete a three-game sweep and remain atop the AL East.
With their 81st victory — and 13th in a row in extra innings — the Orioles are assured no worse than a .500 record for the first time since 1997.
“There’s a bigger goal in mind,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That wasn’t the goal from Day One this spring. Really, Day One of the offseason. It’s watching other teams for years and saying, ‘We want to do what they’re doing. We’d like to get a chair at the dance, you know?’”
It’s been an incredible season for the Orioles, who finished in the cellar in each of the previous four years. Baltimore (81-62) remained in a first-place tie with the New York Yankees, who beat Boston 2-0 on Thursday night.
After briefly celebrating a victory that capped a 5-2 homestand against the Yankees and Rays, the Orioles packed in the clubhouse for a trip to Oakland.
“It makes that West Coast trip a little easier when you win,” said closer Jim Johnson, part of a bullpen that kept Tampa Bay scoreless on four hits over the final 6 2-3 innings. “You can enjoy it for a little bit, the five hours you’re on the flight, but that’s about it.”
The Rays fell four games back in the division by virtue of yet another one-run defeat punctuated by a lack of offensive punch. Tampa has lost 13 of its last 16 one-run games, including a 3-2 decision Wednesday night.
“It’s just the same old story: We can’t score enough runs,” manager Joe Maddon said. “We pitched extremely well, we played well in the field overall, loved the effort.”
But the Rays stranded 10 and went 1 for 7 with runners with scoring position. Tampa Bay left Camden Yards for Yankee Stadium to play a three-game series that begins Friday night.
Sixteen pitchers took part in the game, which lasted 5 hours, 14 minutes. Tampa Bay used a club-record 26 players, including nine pitchers.
After the Orioles squandered a bases-loaded, no-out threat in the 13th, Chris Archer (0-3) got the first two outs in the 14th before Adam Jones walked and Endy Chavez singled. Machado followed with a soft liner toward the line that Joyce trapped.
“I know it hit my glove on the bottom,” Joyce said. “It was hard to tell what exactly happened. Only thing I can tell you is I didn’t come up with it.”
Machado, a 20-year-old rookie, scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night.
“I’m having a blast,” Machado said. “This team is great to be around. It’s a great group of guys. We’re all excited. We’re all having one goal, which is make the playoffs.”
The Orioles’ success in extras this season matches the longest in the majors since Cleveland won 13 straight extra-inning games in 1995.
Randy Wolf (2-0) earned the win by striking out Joyce with two on in the top of the 14th. Baltimore has won 14 of 19 overall and is 26-11 since Aug. 3.
Although the Orioles blew a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning, they improved to 64-0 when leading after the seventh.
Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the 13th but could not score after the Rays employed five infielders in hopes of cutting off the potential winning run at the plate. Robert Andino hit into a force at home, pinch-hitter Matt Wieters struck out and Nate McLouth struck out.
“We came up short that inning,” Machado said, “but we won it in the next.”
Orioles rookie Wei-Yin Chen gave up two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings. Working with a 2-1 lead in the eighth, Chen walked leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings, who advanced on a passed ball and a stolen base before scoring on a slow roller to third by Ben Zobrist for a hit.
In the bottom half, the Orioles got runners on the corners with one out before Joel Peralta struck out Machado and Mark Reynolds.
Limited to four hits through the first six innings, Baltimore went ahead with a two-run seventh. After Rays reliever Wade Davis mishandled a bunt by Machado, Andino walked and seldom-used backup catcher Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run double into the gap in right-center.
Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson allowed four hits and three walks in five-plus innings. He was pulled after J.J. Hardy led off the sixth with a single.
Jake McGee, who struck out all four batters he faced on Wednesday night, came in and struck out pinch-hitter Lew Ford, Jones and Chris Davis. It was McGee’s 18th consecutive scoreless appearance since July 18.
To that point, the game’s only run came in the fourth inning. Singles by Zobrist and Evan Longoria put runners at the corners before Jeff Keppinger hit a sinking liner to center. Jones made a fine diving catch, and Zobrist tagged up from third and scored.
YANKEES 2, RAYS 0
BOSTON — Derek Jeter shook off an injury to tie Willie Mays for 10th place on the career hits list, backing Phil Hughes and helping the Yankees to maintain a share of the AL East lead. New York won consecutive games for the first time in a month.
ANGELS 6, ATHLETICS 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jered Weaver (17-4) allowed two hits in seven innings and struck out nine in his first start since skipping a turn in the rotation because of biceps tendinitis.
INDIANS 5, RANGERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Jason Kipnis hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Joe Nathan and the Indians snapped a five-game losing streak, beating the Rangers.
TWINS 4, ROYALS 3 (10)
MINNEAPOLIS — Denard Span had a game-ending RBI double in the 10th inning and the Twins rallied for a victory over Kansas City.
BLUE JAYS 8, MARINERS 3
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th home run, Adam Lind also connected and Toronto sent Felix Hernandez to his third straight loss.
Cards beat Dodgers
LOS ANGELES — Allen Craig drove in Shane Robinson with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals extended their NL wild-card lead over Los Angeles to two games with a 2-1 victory over the struggling Dodgers.
Lance Lynn (15-7) pitched six innings of five-hit ball to earn his first win since July 27 for the Cardinals, striking out seven in the All-Star’s return to the rotation after a bullpen demotion.
Skip Schumaker had an early run-scoring single as St. Louis (76-68) snapped its three-game skid and a four-game road losing streak with a nail-biting win over the Dodgers (74-70), who have lost four straight.
Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double in the Dodgers’ seventh loss in eight games.
ASTROS 6, PHILLIES 4
HOUSTON — Pinch hitter Jed Lowrie delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning and the ended the Phillies’ seven-game winning streak.
Philadelphia couldn’t hold an early 4-0 lead, and Lowrie’s two-out put the Astros ahead 5-4.
Matt Dominguez hit a three-run homer for Houston.