Baltimore, MD – Ben Zobrist drove in three runs, including an eighth-inning solo homer that proved to be the difference, as the Tampa Bay Rays held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles, 9-8, in the finale of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
Elliot Johnson went deep in front of Zobrist in the eighth for Tampa Bay, which avoided being swept in Baltimore for the first time since July 24-26, 2007.
Nick Markakis doubled twice and knocked in three for the Orioles.
The Rays scored three runs in the second and fourth innings against Baltimore starting pitcher Jake Arrieta (2-4) en route to taking a 7-1 lead.
"Jake's capable of better and that's what frustrates him somewhat," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter.
The Orioles put up a three-spot in the sixth, with J.J. Hardy and Markakis hitting back-to-back doubles and Matt Wieters launching a home run to right- center.
Tampa Bay starter James Shields (6-1) couldn't make it out of the seventh. Robert Andino began the frame with a single and Ryan Flaherty reached on a throwing error. After striking out Xavier Avery, who made his major league debut, Shields was replaced by Burke Badenhop. Hardy then grounded into a fielder's choice and scored along with Andino when Markakis doubled off Jake McGee.
After Johnson, who opened the scoring with an RBI single, and Zobrist slugged back-to-back homers, Nick Johnson responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
Fernando Rodney came on to protect Tampa Bay's 9-7 lead in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Flaherty, who was erased at second on a fielder's choice after pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit struck out swinging in front of Hardy.
Markakis then walked and Adam Jones hit a slow ground ball that was fielded by Sean Rodriguez. The third baseman's throw deflected off Carlos Pena's glove at first, allowing Hardy to score. However, the Rays prevailed, snapping their three-game losing streak, and Rodney notched his 10th save when Wieters grounded out to third.
"[The back-to-back homers] helped give us a little bit of breathing room going into the ninth and it turned out we really needed it," Zobrist said.
Pena slapped a two-run double, while Will Rhymes and Matt Joyce also knocked in runs for Tampa Bay...The Rays were 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position...Tampa Bay improved to 8-3 in series finales this season...Rodriguez struck out in his lone at-bat to halt his hitting streak at 10 games...Shields gave up six runs -- four earned -- on seven hits...Arrieta was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings...The Orioles have lost six straight games on Mother's Day.