St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Flaherty's RBI single highlighted a two-run eighth inning that helped the Baltimore Orioles to a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game set.
Matt Wieters singled to open the eighth and Steve Clevenger doubled to right two batters later to put runners at second and third. After a brief power delay, Joel Peralta (1-2) walked Steve Pearce and Flaherty ripped one into right that plated Wieters and give the visitors a lead.
Nick Markakis grounded into a force out to push Clevenger across and make it a 5-3 game heading to the home half of the eighth.
"I think we had a lot of patient at-bats," said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. "You know how much they want to hit and be the guy to do it for the club."
Darren O'Day (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win and Tommy Hunter stranded the bases loaded in the ninth to secure his ninth save of the season.
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman allowed three runs on five hits over six-plus innings in the no-decision.
Pearce homered for the Orioles, who snapped their two-game losing streak. Nelson Cruz and Wieters each collected two hits with a run scored in the win.
Chris Archer also received a no-decision for Tampa Bay after he surrendered three runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts over five frames.
"(Archer) did OK," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "It was a really good game. They pitched well, we pitched well. It was one big inning that did us in."
Evan Longoria homered and Ben Zobrist knocked in a run for the Rays, who had won four of five coming in.
Matt Joyce singled with two outs in the top of the first and Longoria followed with a drive to center field that gave the Rays an early 2-0 lead.
Pearce cut the lead in half with a towering blast to left in the top of the third.
Baltimore tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth, but missed out on an opportunity to add on.
Cruz and Adam Jones each knocked singles to open the inning, then Wieters reached on a missed catch error by Yunel Escobar on a routine double-play grounder.
J.J. Hardy followed with a sacrifice fly to left that plated Cruz. Archer struck out Clevenger and induced a groundout off the bat of Pearce to end the threat, stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.
The O's loaded the bases again with no outs in the fifth after Flaherty led off the inning with a double, Nick Markakis walked and Manny Machado bounced one through the hole on the left side.
Archer got the first out of the inning with a strikeout of Cruz, then Jones knocked in Flaherty with a sacrifice fly to center. Wieters flied out down the right-field line to end the top half of the fifth with Baltimore leading 3-2.
Wil Myers led off the seventh with a single and David DeJesus walked to put runners at first and second with no outs.
Escobar attempted to bunt both players over, but Pearce rifled it over to third for the force out. Ryan Hanigan was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Zobrist tied the game at 3-3 a batter later with a sacrifice fly to center. Desmond Jennings grounded into a force out to end the inning.
DeJesus singled and Escobar walked to start the ninth, and both moved up a base after a Hanigan sacrifice bunt. Hunter intentionally walked Zobrist, Jennings flew out to shallow right and Logan Forsythe struck out to end the game.
Baltimore has won all three meetings with Tampa Bay this season ... The O's were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base ... The Rays were 0-for-5 with RISP ... Escobar committed his fifth error of the season ... Wieters is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews due to elbow soreness.