Huff rallies Orioles past Rays in front of smallest Camden Yards crowd ever

BALTIMORE (AP) -- He was booed by a sellout crowd on Opening Day, and the smallest gathering in Camden Yards history reacted in similar fashion when Aubrey Huff came to the plate.

Then, Huff found a way to get the fans cheering again.

Huff drove in four runs to rally the Baltimore Orioles past the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 on Wednesday night. His two-run homer got the Orioles within a run in the sixth, and his two-run double in the eighth put Baltimore ahead for the first time.

"I've been taking it pretty good the last few days," Huff said. "But hopefully that game will win some hearts back."

Huff's sin was insulting the city of Baltimore on a syndicated radio show during the offseason. Orioles fans razzed him every time he stepped to the plate, but their tone changed after he sent a pitch from Matt Garza over the right-field wall in the sixth.

"That was the sweetest home run I ever hit. I ain't going to lie to you," Huff said. "I hit that ball and said, 'Please, just get out.' My next at-bat after that I kind of heard more of a mixed crowd instead of all boos."

The fans heartily applauded after Huff's double in the gap off Al Reyes (0-1). Ramon Hernandez followed with a sacrifice fly and Adam Jones capped the four-run uprising with an RBI single.

All this occurred before 10,505 fans -- the tiniest crowd since the ballpark opened in 1992.

"You guys are writing how bad we're going to be this year, and some of these people read into that," Huff said. "Hopefully we can get this city behind us."

Jamie Walker (1-0) struck out the side in the eighth and George Sherrill worked the ninth to earn the save in his Baltimore debut.

Cliff Floyd and Carlos Pena homered for the Rays, who were denied in their bid to win the first two games of the season for only the second time in the franchise's 11-year history.

Blame Huff, who last year batted .365 with seven homers and 14 RBIs against his former team. This year, it seems, is no different.

"I just think he's jacked up about doing it against us, more than anything," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Sometimes the hitter just gets you regardless, and he's getting us."

Carl Crawford had two hits and scored twice for Tampa Bay, and Garza allowed five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings in his debut with the Rays.

"I didn't really hold my end of the bargain," Garza said. "I didn't give my team the best chance to win. It wasn't a great start."

He left with the lead, but Reyes couldn't hold it. A four-pitch walk and an infield hit set the stage for Huff.

"I was trying to go with a fastball down and away and I left it up a little bit," Reyes said. "He make a good swing."

Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera gave up six runs, six hits and five walks in four-plus innings. Coming off a dismal season in which he led the majors in losses (18) and walks (108), the right-hander struggled against a team that has never beaten him.

Pena homered in the fifth after a single by Crawford to make it 5-3. The Rays then loaded the bases before scoring a run on a double-play grounder by Dioner Navarro.

But Huff made sure the lead wouldn't last.

"I tell you what, I wouldn't pitch to Aubrey Huff if I were the Rays. He owned them last year and he's doing a great job against them this year," Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said.

After Floyd connected with two on in the first inning, Baltimore's Brian Roberts answered with his 10th career leadoff home run, a shot to center on Garza's second pitch.

The Rays used three walks (one intentional) to load the bases with one out in the third, but Cabrera struck out Willy Aybar and retired Navarro on a grounder. In the bottom half, Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis hit RBI singles to tie it.

Game notes
Roberts was 3-for-3 with two walks before making his first out of the season in the third inning. ... Crawford is 2-for-2 in stolen bases after going 6-for-6 in spring training. ... "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Sajak lives in Maryland and is a longtime Orioles fan.