St. Petersburg, FL – Matt Joyce hit a game-winning home run in the ninth inning as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 8-7, on Wednesday.
Shelley Duncan hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning, Ben Zobrist went 2- for-4 with two RBI and James Loney had a pinch-hit RBI double for the Rays, who lost their first game of the season.
"We responded well tonight, really proud of our guys," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, but did not earn the win.
Chris Davis was a perfect 4-for-4 with a three-run home run, two doubles and four RBI for the Orioles. Nate McLouth, Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts knocked in a run apiece in the setback.
"Chris Davis continues to swing the bat well, got off to a good start," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We just couldn't hold them down."
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
Davis hit the home run on a full count with two outs in the first inning after singles by Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.
However, neither team scored until the sixth, when Davis hit a single to Manny Machado. Machado hit a double to leadoff the inning and advanced to third after a fly out by Markakis, but Jones grounded out to shortstop.
The Rays came back in the bottom of the inning. Ben Zobrist hit a two-out single, bringing Desmond Jennings home. Tampa Bay wasn't done though. Chen was replaced by Luis Ayala following the score, but he allowed a single to Longoria followed by Duncan's three-run shot to tie the game at 4-4.
In the seventh, Hellickson walked Nolan Reimold and gave up a single to Brian Roberts with one out. McLouth was up next and he singled to right, allowing Reimold to score from second and the Orioles retook the lead, 5-4. Hellickson was then taken out and Kyle Farnsworth came in to relieve. He forced Machado into a double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the inning, Strop replaced Ayala. Joyce reached first with one out on a bunt and Kelly Johnson singled into center field, allowing Joyce to make it to third. On a 2-2 count with Jennings batting, Strop threw a wild pitch, allowing Joyce to score.
After Jennings struck out, Loney pinch-hit for Sean Rodriguez and knocked a double on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Johnson. Zobrist was next and delivered a single, bringing Loney home, and the Rays led 7-5.
Wieters hit a two-out RBI single off Joel Peralta in the eighth, after Davis doubled.
Fernando Rodney (1-0) came in the ninth, but walked Reimold, then allowed Roberts a double to left, allowing Reimold to score. McLouth hit a sacrifice to first and Roberts reached third, but Machado and Markakis both grounded out to shortstop Yunel Escobar to end the inning.
Tommy Hunter (0-1) pitched for the Orioles in the bottom of the inning. Joyce, leading off in the inning, homered to right on a 3-1 pitch to end the game.
Davis leads MLB with seven RBI this season ... Hellickson required 94 pitches in his outing while Chen needed 84 ... The Rays were 4-of-7 with runners in socring position, while the Orioles were 4-of-11.