Rays ride Carl Crawford, Matt Garza past Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Matt Garza was well on his way to another win over the Baltimore Orioles when Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon headed to the mound in the sixth inning to make a pitching change.

Garza left the game -- but not without expressing his disgust over the move.

That tarnished an otherwise solid performance by Garza, who earned his 14th win in Tampa Bay's 4-1 victory Friday night.

Garza (14-7) gave up one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. It was an extension of an outstanding August in which he had a 1.27 ERA over five starts. But it was only the second time in his last nine appearances that he failed to complete six innings, and he wasn't too pleased about being pulled after throwing 98 pitches.

Garza told Maddon as much while coming off the mound, and the manager wasn't going to let it pass.

"I didn't appreciate it, so we reviewed it when I got to the dugout," Maddon said. "I love the fact that that our pitchers don't want to come out of the game, and he's kind of trained himself to pitch farther. However, it was very hot tonight and humid, and I want to try and keep people fresh for the rest of the year."

Afterward, Garza acknowledged that Maddon probably made the right move.

"He was just explaining the situation and just was kind of letting me know what was going on," Garza said. "You want to stay in and go deeper. But I didn't have the stuff to keep going, and it worked out for the best."

Garza was lifted after issuing two walks, and Chad Qualls came in and retired Matt Wieters to end the inning.

Carl Crawford had three hits and an RBI for the Rays, who stayed 1½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East and extended their wild-card lead over the Boston Red Sox to seven games. Tampa Bay has won five of six and nine of 12.

In his last outing against the Orioles, Garza yielded four homers and seven runs in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander's effort in the rematch provided a measure of redemption and improved his lifetime record against Baltimore to 9-1, including 3-0 this season.

Instead of throwing hard, Garza hardly threw with any velocity. The strategy worked.

"He's got a power arm but he finessed tonight. He tripled up on his changeup and threw a lot of breaking balls," Baltimore designated hitter Luke Scott said. "It's usually not typical of him."

Said Garza: "I kind of deviated from the game plan and followed [catcher John Jaso's] lead. He wanted to go soft a lot and that's what we did."

Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his major league-leading 41st save.

Felix Pie drove in the lone run for the Orioles, mired in their first three-game losing streak under manager Buck Showalter. Baltimore is 17-13 since Showalter made his debut on Aug. 3.

"I kept hoping we would put something together," Showalter said. "The key to the game is we scored one run."

Kevin Millwood (3-15) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He was vying for a second straight win after going nine straight starts without one.

"I don't think it was terrible," Millwood said of his outing, "but I didn't make enough good pitches to give us a really good chance to win."

Millwood allowed at least one first-inning run in 13 of his previous 17 starts, and it appeared the trend would continue when Crawford hit a two-out triple and Evan Longoria walked. But Carlos Pena popped out to end the threat.

In the third, however, Crawford hit an RBI single and scored on Longoria's AL-high 43rd double.

Reid Brignac singled in a run and Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 in the fourth. Baltimore got a run back in the bottom half when Ty Wigginton doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a fly ball to center by Pie.

Game notes
The Orioles intend to call up right-hander Chris Tillman and start him Sunday in the series finale. ... Longoria is four doubles short of breaking Aubrey Huff's season team record (47 in 2003). ... Baltimore's Nick Markakis went 0-for-4, ending his season-high hitting streak at 11 games. ... The victory evens Maddon's record at Tampa Bay at 391-391, the first time he's been at .500 since the Rays were 8-8 on April 20, 2006. ... Tampa Bay improved to 10-3 against Baltimore and won the season series for a third straight year.