But rookie second baseman Jonathan Schoop and center fielder Adam
Jones provided just enough margin for the Baltimore Orioles on
Schoop hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning after
Jones walloped solo shots earlier, helping the Orioles to a 4-3 win
over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
"It was really nice, especially to come through there and especially
to get a 'W'," Schoop said. "That's all this game is about, you know
Baltimore (17-14) took the first two games of the series and is 4-0
against the Rays this season. The Orioles won 10 of their last 16
road games. Tampa Bay fell to 15-19 after losing its third in the
last four games. It became the last team in the major to lose a
one-run game after starting the season 6-0 in that category.
Norris was charged with two runs on three hits with two walks and
four walks in 5 2/3 innings and for the 18th time in his last 36
starts he received two runs or less of run support. He was cruising
through the sixth inning, leading, 2-1, until a two-out hit batsmen
and an infield single by third baseman Evan Longoria prompted
manager Buck Showalter to insert left-hander Brian Matusz.
Right-handed pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez tied the game with a single
to center. Right-hander Ryan Webb entered to end the threat with the
help of a dazzling defensive play by Schoop.
"I went out there and competed," Norris said. "Got some ground
balls, got behind in some counts, had some longer counts, so I had
to labor a little more than I would have liked, but kept the team in
Schoop gave the Orioles the lead back with a two-out, two-run homer
to left, his third of the season. The rally began with two out and
the bases-empty when first baseman Steve Pearce single of
right-hander Brandon Gomes.
"The pitch sequence and all that was exactly what I wanted to do,"
Gomes said. "I executed everything I wanted to the whole night and
that pitch wasn't in or up quite enough."
Rays starter Cesar Ramos allowed two runs on just three hits -- but
two of them solo homers to center fielder Adam Jones -- and two
walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Webb earned his first win in relief, Gomes (2-2) the loss. Hunter
took the American League lead with his 10th save despite allowing a
run in the ninth on three hits, including a lead-off double by right
fielder Wil Myers and an RBI single by catcher Ryan Hanigan. Tampa
Bay had runners on first and third with one out, but Hunter got a
lineout against second baseman Ben Zobrist and snagged a shot up the
middle by center fielder Desmond Jennings to end the game. Last
week, Jennings might have been the ideal candidate for such a
situation, but has gone 0-for-10 since being named the American
League Player of the Week.
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Jones gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead with massive solo home runs
leading off the second and fourth innings. Both homers, which
bounced off the blue wall beyond the 404-foot marker, came on the
first pitch of the inning against Ramos, an 86 mph sinker and an 82
mph changeup. The home runs were Jones' second and third this
"I made two mistakes over the plate and paid for it against a good
hitter," said Ramos. "It's definitely a decision I can't control.
I'll keep building that confidence."
Rays designated hitter David DeJesus cut the margin to 2-1 in the
fifth, stroking a 91 mph first-pitch fastball into the right field
stands off Norris. The homer was his third of the season.
NOTES: Orioles RF Nick Markakis singled in the first inning to
extend his hitting streak 14 games. He has a hit in 17 of his past
18 games. ... Since 2008, the Rays have used only 21 different
starting pitchers, the fewest in the majors. During the same span,
the Orioles have deployed 45, which is the most in the majors. ...
The Rays began play in last place in the American League East, just
the second time they occupied that spot after the first month of a
season since 2008. Last year, they spent two days in the basement in
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