Aaron Hicks’ homer and four-RBI night propels Orioles past Rays

Aaron Hicks is still thriving after his much-needed change of scenery, and he’s now impacting the AL East race.

Hicks homered and had four RBIs as the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 in St. Petersburg, Fla. after nearly blowing a seven-run lead Tuesday night in a matchup of the top two teams in the AL East.

With the victory, the Orioles moved within four games of the first-place Rays and are now 5¹/₂ games ahead of the third-place Yankees, who scored a 3-1 win over the Mariners.

“I just think we’ve just got to keep playing good baseball,” said Hicks, who got the Rays off to a quick start with a three-run homer in the first inning. “You can’t really worry about the standings, what other teams are doing. You just have to go out and play hard, and get as many wins as you can.”

Hicks gave Baltimore an 8-6 advantage on his RBI single in the eighth off Robert Stephenson.

Hicks, released by the Yankees on May 26 and signed by Baltimore four days later, has three homers and seven extra-base hits in 17 games with the Orioles.

Aaron Hicks celebrates with third base coach Tony Mansolino after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning of the Orioles' 8-6 win over the Rays.
Aaron Hicks celebrates with third base coach Tony Mansolino after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning of the Orioles’ 8-6 win over the Rays.

The 33-year-old outfielder had one homer and three extra-base hits over 28 games with the Yankees.

“It’s been awesome,” Hicks said. “The team has really welcomed me since I got here, and been able to have opportunities pretty much from day one to play every single day. It’s been fun.”

Hicks is hitting .340 with the Orioles, compared to .188 with the Yankees and has now raised his season average to .254.

The veteran is raking, unlike his former team. The Yankees have scored three runs or fewer in eight of their past 10 games.

Hicks did get some help from his Oriole teammates in this one.

Anthony Santander and Ryan O’Hearn also went deep for Baltimore, and Kyle Bradish (3-3) gave up two runs and four hits over five innings.

Félix Bautista, the fifth Orioles reliever, got four outs to earn his 20th save on his 28th birthday.

But Baltimore first had to survive a furious comeback by the Rays, who scored a combined six runs in the fifth and sixth innings. .

Francisco Mejía had an RBI double off Bradish during a two-run fifth before Manuel Margot drove in two with a pinch-hit single in a four-run sixth against three Baltimore relievers as the Rays got within 7-6.

Orioles second baseman Adam Frazier made a nifty running catch on Randy Arozarena’s flare to center with two on to end the inning and stop the threat.

Tampa Bay dropped to 31-8 at home, and has lost three straight overall. The Rays entered as the only team in the majors without a three-game skid this year.

— with AP

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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