Two-out hits lead come­back

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­­dieInTheYard

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — The im­por­tance of each game in the Ori­oles’ piv­otal nine-game road trip will in­ten­sify by the day, but the team can’t look ahead to dates with fel­low play­off con­tenders De­troit and Bos­ton un­til they take care of busi­ness on a three-game trip to last-place Tampa Bay.

And in Mon­day’s se­ries opener against the Rays — who, by tak­ing two of three from the Amer­i­can League East-lead­ing Toronto Blue Jays, showed their abil­ity to mud­dle a play­off pic­ture they’re not in — the Ori­oles staved off dis­ap­point­ment with a come­back vic­tory.

For the sec­ond straight day, the Ori­oles fell be­hind by three runs in the first in­ning, but this time they ral­lied from be­hind with a bevy of clutch two-out sin­gles for a 7-3 win over the Rays in front of an an­nounced 12,256.

With the win, the Ori­oles (75-62) moved within two games of Toronto for first place.

Right-han­der Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first com­plete game by an Ori­oles pitcher in more than two sea­sons — Miguel Gon­za­lez pitched the last one on Sept. 4, 2014, against Cincin­nati — and his first nine-in­ning com­plete game since June 1, 2011, when he was pitch­ing for the Colorado Rock­ies against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Ori­oles’ of­fen­sive strength has been their abil­ity to launch balls into the seats, but on Mon­day it was their sit­u­a­tional hit­ting that was the key to vic­tory.

Jimenez was one strike away from es­cap­ing the first in­ning un­scathed, but he fell be­hind early by al­low­ing a three-run homer to Tampa Bay first base­man Lo­gan Mor­ri­son with two outs and a full count.

The Ori­oles would score seven unan­swered runs off Rays starter Matt An­driese, in­clud­ing five in a fifth in­ning in which they bat­ted around.

They were 4-for-6 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion in the Adam Jones slides home ahead of the throw to Rays catcher Luke Maile on a sin­gle by Chris Davis in the fifth in­ning. fifth, get­ting three two-out, run­scor­ing sin­gles.

An­driese al­most es­caped the in­ning. Af­ter Hyun Soo Kim opened the fifth with a dou­ble and went to third on Adam Jones’ sin­gle, An­driese struck out Pe­dro Al­varez look­ing and Manny Machado swing­ing.

But first base­man Chris Davis looped a two-run sin­gle into cen­ter field to give the Ori­oles a 4-3 lead.

Mark Trumbo sin­gled home Davis and, af­ter a sin­gle by Matt Wi­eters, both scored on Jonathan Schoop’s sin­gle.

“Our guys stormed back there and re­ally got af­ter it,” man­ager Buck Showal­ter said. “A lot of good base-run­ning plays, a lot of good fun­da­men­tals. I thought Chris’ [hit] was a big mo­men­tum swing. They were go­ing to wig­gle out of it, and Chris not only did that, but took sec­ond on the throw and ended up scor­ing a run. Matt and Trum moved up on a short wild pitch. Those things are big.” Davis launches rally: Davis’ win­ning hit came af­ter fall­ing be­hind 0-2 to An­driese — look­ing fooled on a pair of change­ups — but Davis worked the count un­til he lined a high fast­ball back up the mid­dle for a base hit.

“I’ve been try­ing to do that the whole year,” Davis said. “I feel like these guys have been pick­ing me up and even­tu­ally I was hop­ing that I could rise up to the chal­lenge. So I was happy with the way things turned out to­day, but just re­ally proud of the way we bat­tled as a team.”

Davis also started the Ori­oles’ scor­ing with his 34th home run of the sea­son, hit­ting a 2-0 pitch from An­driese the op­po­site way to left field in the fourth in­ning to cut the Tampa Bay lead to 3-1. Ex­tra bases mat­ter: The Ori­oles’ ag­gres­sive­ness on the base paths paid off in the fifth in­ning, be­gin­ning with Davis’ two-run hit.

On his sin­gle, Davis took sec­ond base on the throw home, which al­lowed him to come home on Trumbo’s sin­gle.

Then, with Trumbo at sec­ond and Wi­eters at first, both base run­ners moved up on a wild pitch by An­driese, al­low­ing both to score when Schoop sin­gled, giv­ing the Ori­oles a 7-3 lead.


Starters: Yo­vani Gal­lardo (4-7, 5.62) vs. Rays’ Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.56)

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