Matusz, Atkins help Orioles avoid sweep

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brian Matusz allowed two runs over five innings, Garrett Atkins had two RBIs and the Baltimore Orioles avoided a season-opening three-game sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Thursday night.

Matusz (1-0) overcame control problems to win his fifth straight decision, dating back to last season. The left-hander walked a career-high five, scattered two hits and struck out seven.

Matt Wieters had a RBI single and Atkins drove in a pair of runs with a single during a four-run sixth that gave the Orioles a 5-2 advantage. Baltimore had loaded the bases with no outs on a single, hit by pitch and walk against Mike Ekstrom (0-1).

The Rays drew just 16,191 to their third game of the season. They open a series with the Yankees Friday.

Rays starter Jeff Niemann left with one out in the second due to a bruised right shoulder, which occurred when he was hit by Miguel Tejada's line drive. The team said Niemann is day to day.

Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro pulled Tampa Bay to 5-3 on an RBI grounder in the seventh. Evan Longoria made it 5-4 with a run-scoring single off Jim Johnson during the eighth.

Jason Bartlett had an RBI single and Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly as the Rays went ahead 2-1 in the third. Matusz started the inning by walking Pat Burrell, Gabe Kapler and Kelly Shoppach.

Nolan Reimold put the Orioles up 1-0 with a third-inning solo homer.

Michael Gonzalez struggled in the ninth en route to his first save of the season. After starting the inning with two strikeouts, the left-hander then loaded the bases on a single and two walks before getting Ben Zobrist to fly out.

Baltimore's Brian Roberts ended an 0 for 11 slide with an infield single during the fifth. He was limited to six games in spring training because of a slightly herniated disc in his back.

Wieters went 2 for 4, and has started the season with three consecutive multihit games.

NOTES: Orioles manager Dave Trembley said the Rays have "as good a rotation as anybody in this (AL East) division." ... Baltimore LF Felix Pie (left rotator cuff strain) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. ... Johnson has been slowed by elbow tightness. ... Orioles TV analyst Jim Palmer missed Thursday's broadcast due to a bad chest cold and was replaced by Roch Kubatko. ... SS Tim Beckham, taken first overall by Tampa Bay in the 2008 amateur draft, will start the season at Class-A Charlotte on the DL with a left wrist injury.