St. Petersburg, FL – Adam Jones delivered a go-ahead two-run double during a seventh-inning outburst that lifted the Baltimore Orioles to a 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the season opener for both American League East members at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles scored five times to battle back from a 3-2 deficit, with Chris Davis capping the big inning with a three-run homer off Rays reliever Jake McGee.
Matt Wieters belted a two-run shot against reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price earlier in the game, part of a 2-for-3 performance for the Baltimore catcher. Jones finished with three of the Orioles' 13 hits on the day.
Baltimore also received six solid innings from starting pitcher Jason Hammel (1-0), with the former Ray yielding three runs and just three hits to win his first career Opening Day assignment.
"It just shows what kind of competitor he is. He knew he didn't have his best stuff today, but he went out and gave us a chance to win," Wieters said of Hammel.
Price held the Orioles to two runs over six innings and left with a one-run edge that McGee (0-1) squandered by being rocked for five runs and four hits while recording only two outs.
"I thought we did a lot of really good things today and they got us in the seventh inning," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Ben Zobrist went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI to pace the Rays offensively, with Desmond Jennings also collecting a pair of hits that included a run-scoring double.
Stepping to the plate with two on and two out and the Orioles down 3-2 in the top of the seventh, Jones sent Baltimore back ahead by driving a McGee offering into the gap in left center for a double that brought home Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis, both of whom had reached on singles.
Wieters was then intentionally walked by Rays skipper Joe Maddon to set up a left-on-left matchup with Davis, but the move backfired when the first baseman launched the first pitch he saw from McGee about 10 rows back into the stands in right center for a 7-3 Baltimore advantage.
Tampa Bay got a run back in the eighth when Jennings singled, moved to third on a stolen base combined with a throwing error by Wieters, and crossed the plae on Sam Fuld's ground out. However, 2012 MLB saves leader Jim Johnson came on to toss a scoreless ninth and close out a successful opener for the Orioles.
The Rays had taken a 3-2 lead by reaching Hammel for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Kelly Johnson drew a leadoff walk and Jennings followed with a double down the left-field line to bring home the tying run. After a bunt from Fuld advanced Jennings to third, Zobrist came through with a sacrifice fly to deep center that easily plated his teammate.
Price didn't display All-Star form early on, as Jones laced a double during the top of the first before Wieters crushed a changeup from the Tampa ace deep into the seats in left-center field to quickly put Baltimore in front.
Hammel, on the other hand, set down 10 of the first 11 Rays before hanging a slider that Zobrist deposited over the wall in right with one out in the bottom of the third.
The Orioles had other chances against Price, but the hard-throwing lefty was able to bear down in several situations. He got Davis to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third, and J.J. Hardy and Wieters began the fourth and sixth, respectively, with doubles but were left stranded.
The Orioles have now won three straight season openers and improved to 10-3 in their first outing of the year since 2001 ... Price had held the Orioles to just one run over 22 1/3 innings in three starts against Baltimore last season .... Hammel, a 10th-round draft choice of the Rays in 2002 who pitched three seasons for Tampa Bay, was taking the mound at Tropicana Field for the first time since being traded by the Rays to Colorado a few days into the 2009 campaign ... Baltimore took 10 of the 18 meetings between the clubs last season.