Series on the line when Rays, O's square off at the Trop

After notching a walk-off win on Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays will try and take the series against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Matt Joyce came through for Tampa Bay with the game-winning home run in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 8-7 victory. He also ignited a three-run seventh inning after entering the game as a pinch-hitter.

"Man, that's a great way to jump start the season," Joyce said. "No better way to have your first win with a walk-off and just get things rolling that way. I mean, that's a great feeling."

Shelley Duncan chipped in with a three-run homer, while Ben Zobrist was 2- for-4 with a pair of RBI. Jeremy Hellickson, the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year, gave up five runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings for the no- decision. Fernando Rodney, who converted 48 of 50 saves last year, was credited with the win despite blowing a save opportunity.

Chris Davis went 4-for-4 with four RBI for Baltimore, as his night included a three-run blast and two doubles in a losing effort. The O's tied the game in the top of the ninth inning on a double by Brian Roberts, but Joyce led off the bottom of the frame and promptly ended it with his blast to right field. Starter Wei-Yin Chen went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits.

Taking the hill for Tampa Bay in the rubber match will be Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. The right-hander was signed in December after pitching only three games last season with the Cleveland Indians due to visa issues.

Despite Wednesday's victory, Rays manager Joe Maddon sounded weary of facing Baltimore's lineup going into the final game of the series.

"(Davis) is on everything right now, they all look good," Maddon said. "(Nick) Markakis looks good, (Adam) Jones looks good, (Davis) looks good, Roberts looks good. They've got a bunch of guys looking good right now. They're no fun right now."

Miguel Gonzalez gets the nod for Baltimore. Gonzalez went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 18 games last season (15 starts).

Baltimore was 10-8 against the Rays last season.