ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Zach Britton pitched six sharp innings in his major league debut, J.J. Hardy hit a two-run double and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Sunday to complete a season-opening three-game sweep.
Britton (1-0) allowed one run and three hits, struck out six and walked three. Recalled before the game from Triple-A Norfolk, Britton had around 30 family members and friends in attendance.
Mark Reynolds hit a tiebreaking RBI double in Baltimore's three-run seventh, which also featured Hardy's big hit. Reynolds added another run-scoring double in the ninth.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique injury and is expected to be out at least three weeks. The AL All-Star left Saturday's game after five innings because of muscle soreness on the left side on his upper body.
Wade Davis (0-1) gave up four runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings for the Rays, who had never before started a season with three straight losses.
Baltimore outscored the Rays 7-2 in winning the first two games of the series. Starters Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Tillman combined to allow three hits over 14 scoreless innings.
Matt Wieters put the Orioles up 1-0 with a run-scoring single in the first. But Tampa Bay tied it on Elliot Johnson's third-inning bunt single.
Britton is filling in for left-hander Brian Matusz, who will be out three to six weeks with a strained muscle on the left side of his back. The 23-year-old left-hander went 3-0 with an 1.35 ERA in five games, including four starts, during spring training.
Orioles reliever Jason Berken struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh. It was the first time since Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2005 that Baltimore swept a three-game set at Tampa Bay.
NOTES: Tampa Bay LF Johnny Damon was a late scratch due to right calf soreness. ... Orioles LF Luke Scott was out of the lineup because of a strained right groin. ... Tampa Bay purchased the contract of INF Felipe Lopez from Triple-A Durham and designated RHP Mike Ekstrom for assignment. ... Orioles RHP Justin Duchscherer (left hip-back) is planning to undergo an ablation procedure — which uses radio frequency waves — on his lower back to decrease nerve pain. ... Larry King threw a ceremonial first pitch.