Duda’s 3-run HR helps Rays eliminate Orioles with 9-6 win

Tampa Bay Rays’ Lucas Duda, right, watches his three-run home run in front of Baltimore Orioles catcher Welington Castillo and home plate umpire Gabe Morales in the third inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Orioles’ comeback attempt Saturday night fell short, just like their season.

Lucas Duda hit a go-ahead, three-run homer to back Jake Odorizzi, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore 9-6 on Saturday night to eliminate the Orioles from postseason contention.

Baltimore (74-82), which closed with five runs in the ninth inning, is assured of finishing with a losing record for the first time since 2011. The Orioles are 6-17 following a seven-game winning streak.

“We’ve all been tunnel vision trying to win as many games in a row as we can and see where it takes us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll readdress where we are.”

After making the playoffs in three of five seasons and advancing to the AL Championship Series in 2014, Baltimore opened 22-10 but struggled through a 20-39 stretch before a late July-August push.

“It is tough to be eliminated from postseason contention,” Baltimore’s Trey Mancini said.

Duda’s third-inning homer, his 30th overall and 13th since the Rays acquired him from the New York Mets, helped Tampa Bay build a 9-1 lead.

Tampa Bay (76-79) remained five games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild-card with seven games remaining, a half-game behind Kansas City, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas.

Logan Morrison hit his 37th homer for the Rays during a four-run ninth. In a sloppy game, Tampa Bay made three errors and Baltimore two.

Odorizzi (10-8) allowed an unearned run and three hits in six innings and struck out nine, improving to 4-1 in his last five starts.

“The changeup was a big key tonight. I was able to throw it effectively and get a lot of good movement on it,” Odorizzi said. “It’s been kind of hit or miss all year.”

With the tying run at the plate, Alex Colome retired Mancini on a game-ending groundout for his major league-leading 46th save in 52 chances.

Jeremy Hellickson (2-6 with the Orioles and 8-11 overall) gave up three runs and four hits over six innings and dropped to 0-4 in his last five starts. Hellickson spent 2010-14 with the Rays and started against his former team for the first time.

Duda was in a 1-for-23 slide when he fouled off four straight pitches, then homered on the ninth pitch for a 3-1 lead in the third.

“Duda’s always given me trouble,” Hellickson said. “Made seven or eight good pitches and then the mistake I make, he doesn’t miss.”

Hellickson has given up 13 homers in 51 2/3 innings with the Orioles.

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