ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Carl Crawford drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the ninth inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-3 season-opening victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night.
Adam Jones, Luke Scott and Matt Wieters homered for the Orioles, who were unable to put the game away because of a lack of timely hitting with runners in scoring position.
Evan Longoria homered in the sixth for the Rays, who loaded the bases in the ninth against Baltimore's new closer, Michael Gonzalez, with a single, double and an intentional walk. Crawford lined a 1-0 pitch into right field, driving in the winning runs before a sellout crowd of 36,973 at Tropicana Field.
The winning hit initially was scored a single. It was later changed to a double.
Rafael Soriano (1-0) got the win, despite struggling to get through the top of the ninth for Tampa Bay.
Orioles starter Kevin Millwood allowed two runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander was two outs away from getting the win before Gonzalez (0-1) gave up a one-out single to Rodriguez to start the winning rally.
Jones, Scott and Wieters hit solo homers off James Shields. Baltimore's bullpen pitched three scoreless innings to get the game into the ninth.
Millwood, who walked one and struck out five, is one of four major additions the Orioles made during the offseason, along with third baseman Miguel Tejada, first baseman Garrett Atkins and Gonzalez.
At 28, Shields is the oldest member of a starting rotation whose average age of 26.19 years is the second youngest in the majors leagues. He's been tough on the Orioles during his career, winning six of eight decisions against them.
Jones homered in the third, Scott made it 2-0 in the fourth and Wieters put Baltimore up 3-1 in the sixth.
Longoria's homer, a 473-foot shot to left that landed in the first row of the upper deck of the domed stadium, trimmed Millwood's lead to 3-2. Orioles manager Dave Trembley turned to his bullpen after Carlos Pena layed down a bunt single and B.J. Upton lined a hit to left to give Rays runners at first and second with no outs.
Baltimore escaped the jam when reliever Matt Albers struck out Rodriguez after getting Pat Burrell to ground into a double play.
The Orioles finished with seven extra-base hits — three homers and four doubles — but wasted several opportunities to break the game open. They stranded seven baserunners while going 0 for 8 with men in scoring position against Shields, who allowed three runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.
The Rays starter walked two and struck out six.
Brian Roberts made his seventh straight opening day start for Baltimore, despite being slowed much of spring training by a herniated disk in his back. He went 0 for 5.
Tejada, beginning a second stint with Baltimore, also went 0 for 5 after finishing last season on a 21-game hitting streak with Houston. He lined to left with the bases loaded in the ninth, when the Orioles squandered their last chance to build on their lead.
Baltimore finished 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. That hit, Cesar Izturis' ninth-inning infield single, did not drive in a run.
NOTES: The Orioles opened the season on the road for just the fourth time in the past 30 years. ... Admiral Eric Thor Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... The last three times Baltimore has had multiple homers on opening day, it was against Tampa Bay. They hit two against the Rays in 1999 and four in 2006. ... Shields made his third consecutive opening day start for Tampa Bay, a franchise record.