Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - J.J. Hardy's RBI single in the ninth inning led the Baltimore Orioles to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game set.
Brandon Gomes (1-2) was on the mound to start the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Travis Snider, with Everth Cabrera coming on to run. Gomes then got the next two outs before stepping off the mound for Xavier Cedeno, who allowed Chris Davis' single to right that left men at the corners.
Steve Geltz then took over on the hill and Hardy punched a single to left for the deciding run.
"I guess it's important, but no more important than any other time you try to win a ball game," said Hardy. "It's been a grind lately and I've been working at it every day."
Davis hit a solo home run and Darren O'Day (1-0) got the win after working out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the ninth for the Orioles, who have won three of their last four games. Miguel Gonzalez allowed a run on three hits while striking out six in eight innings.
Steven Souza hit a solo home run for the Rays, who have dropped their past six games. Nathan Karns pitched six innings and gave up a hit and two walks while striking out six.
Tampa got on the board in the second inning on Souza's solo homer to left, his eighth of the season, but didn't get a runner to second base after that until the ninth inning.
With O'Day on the mound, Evan Longoria and David DeJesus singled and Logan Forsythe was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. O'Day, though, struck out Souza and Asdrubal Cabrera before getting Jake Elmore to ground out to third and end the frame.
"You have to give credit to their guy on the mound in that situation," said Tampa manager Kevin Cash. "We knew in that situation we had our hands full. It's frustrating, but the guys will bounce back and get their hits."
Baltimore left men on first and second in the fourth inning after Hardy struck out to end the inning, but that was the only time the team threatened until Davis tied the game with one out in the seventh on his 12th home run of the year.
Baltimore is 5-2 against Tampa this season ... Baltimore manager Buck Showalter notched the 1,282nd win of his managerial career, moving him one past Whitey Herzog for 35th all time. He trails Frank Selee by two wins for 34th ... Tampa stranded seven men on base.