Baltimore, MD – Chris Davis clubbed his major league-leading 46th home run and Wei-Yin Chen pitched seven strong innings as the Baltimore Orioles held off the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, to avoid a three-game sweep.
Adam Jones also homered while knocking in two runs for the Orioles, who won for just the third time in their last nine games.
Chen (7-6), who had lost his previous three starts, gave up six hits and a pair of runs to help Baltimore beat the Rays for only the second time in the last nine meetings between the clubs.
The Orioles used three pitchers in the final inning, with Tommy Hunter recording his fourth save thanks in part to Matt Wieters throwing out Kelly Johnson on a stolen base try to end the game.
"It was a big win," Wieters said. "You'd like to get a series, but the only thing would could tonight was to win one game. Wei-Yin threw the ball great and we were able to get enough runs and give him some support."
The loss by the Rays dropped them out of first place in the AL East and a game behind the Boston Red Sox, who won at San Francisco, 12-1, Wednesday afternoon.
Jeremy Hellickson (10-7) permitted seven hits and four runs over 4 1/3 innings to lose his fourth straight decision over a five-start span.
Jason Bourgeois belted his first homer of the year and third of his career for Tampa Bay. Sean Rodriguez also went deep, but the Rays lost for only the second time in eight games.
Rodriguez homered to center leading off the fourth inning to cut the Rays' deficit to 3-2, but the Orioles got that run back with a titanic shot off the bat of Davis in the fifth. The leadoff hit was crushed over the wall in right field and landed on Eutaw Street.
The Rays were held without a hit for four straight innings until Wil Myers singled off Darren O'Day to begin the ninth. Brian Matusz then walked pinch- hitter James Loney during an 11-pitch at-bat.
Hunter entered from the bullpen and retired pinch-hitter Matt Joyce on a fly ball to center. Johnson, also in a pinch-hit role, grounded back to the mound for a force out at second. Wieters then made a perfect throw on Johnson's steal attempt, and shortstop J.J. Hardy applied the tag on the left leg to end the game.
"It's a division series and you're going to win two out of three games. That's a good spot to be in," Johnson said.
Baltimore filled the bases before Hellickson could record an out. Nate McLouth and Manny Machado opened the bottom of the first with singles and Davis was walked. Jones then grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice before stealing second. Desmond Jennings made an over-the-shoulder grab in center, but the fly ball from Wieters scored Davis.
Bourgeois homered to left in the second, and the Rays were able to stay within striking distance when Hellickson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half.
Jones led off the home third with his 26th homer, a shot to center, that put Baltimore up by a 3-1 score.
Davis has 25 home runs at Oriole Park this year, two shy of the Orioles' home record set by Frank Robinson in 1966 at Memorial Stadium. The 25 HR's are tied with Rafael Palmeiro (1998) for the most in a single season at Camden Yards ... Davis' 46 homers are tied with Jim Gentile (1961) for the third-most in single-season franchise history. Brady Anderson hit 50 in 1996 and Robinson 49 in 1966 ... The teams combined to go 0-for-12 with men in scoring position.