Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Baltimore 4
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jerry Sands smacked a go-ahead, pinch-hit two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game set.
Evan Longoria worked a leadoff walk against Darren O'Day (2-1) before O'Day struck out Ben Zobrist and induced a fly out off the bat of James Loney. Brian Matusz then came on and Sands, who replaced David DeJesus, belted a towering shot that curled around the left-field foul pole to give the Rays a 5-3 lead.
"I liked him because I knew he'd be aggressive off the bench," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Sands.
Juan Carlos Oviedo allowed a solo homer to Delmon Young with one out in the ninth, but recorded the final two outs without conceding another hit to pick up his first save of the season.
Ryan Hanigan cracked a two-run blast and Yunel Escobar added a solo shot for the Rays, who have won four of their last five games.
Adam Jones hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which has dropped three of its last four contests.
The Rays opened up a 3-0 lead after pushing across a run in the first and two more in the fourth.
Escobar launched his solo shot into the seats in left with one out in the opening frame.
James Loney whacked a double to left to lead off the fourth and moved to third on a Sean Rodriguez sacrifice bunt. Logan Forsythe flied out to center, but it wasn't deep enough to plate Loney. Hanigan, though, stepped up next and cracked his two-run shot over the wall in left to bring him home and give Tampa Bay its three-run cushion.
Baltimore put just one man into scoring position over the first five innings -- Ryan Flaherty struck out with runners on first and second in the second -- but produced plenty of scoring chances over the next three frames.
Nick Markakis doubled to begin the sixth and came home two batters later on Jones' two-run blast to left, which cut the O's deficit to 3-2.
Flaherty and Caleb Joseph both fanned with J.J. Hardy on second in the seventh, but Nelson Cruz's RBI infield single in the eighth tied it.
With the bases loaded and one out in that frame, however, Jake McGee (3-0) struck out Hardy and induced an inning-ending groundout off the bat of pinch- hitter Steve Pearce.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi surrendered two runs on three hits and two walks over 5 1/3 frames, while O's starter Wei-Yin Chen yielded three runs on six hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings ... Tampa Bay was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, while Baltimore finished 2-for-9 with RISP.
06/16 22:56:18 ET
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