St. Petersburg, FL – Desmond Jennings belted a go-ahead two- run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 2-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series from Tropicana Field.
Jennings' blast enabled Chris Archer (1-1) to record his second career major league win after the rookie limited Baltimore's potent offense to a run on two hits over seven strong innings, as well as deal Orioles starter Jason Hammel his first road defeat of the season.
"That is what we are supposed to look like," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of his club. "Pitch well, hope to get a timely hit, and play good defense."
James Loney chipped in two hits and scored on Jennings' homer to help the Rays prevail for the ninth time in their last 12 outings.
Hammel (7-4), who entered the matchup 6-0 in seven road starts this season, allowed six hits and both Tampa runs over 6 2/3 innings of work.
"Tonight, it just ended up being the one run that cost us and myself, the team, the game," Hammel lamented. "We have plenty more games to play. It was honestly just a good game tonight."
Manny Machado knocked in Baltimore's lone run with a third-inning single.
The Rays managed only four baserunners against a very effective Hammel over the opening six innings, but finally broke through when Jennings followed a leadoff single by Loney with a scorching line drive that carried over the center-field wall to erase a 1-0 deficit in the seventh.
Tampa Bay's bullpen then protected the one-run advantage, with Joel Peralta yielding only a walk in the eighth and Fernando Rodney setting the side down in order to nail down his 13th save of the year.
Making only his sixth career big league start and second this season, Archer kept the Rays in it by matching Hammel for most of the night. The young righty's only trouble came in the top of the third, when Machado made him pay for issuing his only two walks of the contest.
A two-out free pass to Nate McLouth set the stage for Machado's clutch single up the middle that brought in Chris Dickerson for the game's first run.
Archer was terrific thereafter, with Ryan Flaherty the lone Oriole to reach base over the remainder of Archer's stint when he doubled and was left stranded in the fifth.
The Orioles had an MLB-best stretch of 34 consecutive games with at least two extra-base hits end ... Archer matched a career high for innings pitched, having also gone seven against Texas on Sept. 8 of last season ... Baltimore's Nick Markakis (personal) and Tampa Bay's Kelly Johnson (back) both returned to their team's respective lineups after missing two straight games, though each went 0-for-4 ... Tampa Bay has now won four in a row against the Orioles, having swept a three-game set in Baltimore from May 17-19.