BALTIMORE -- Held to a pair of infield hits over the first seven innings, the Tampa Bay Rays made up for a slow start with a rousing finish.
The Rays sent 10 players to the plate in the eighth and Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer in the 10th to power Tampa Bay to an 8-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night."For us to score those five runs in the eighth was really a testament to our focus and the way the group feels right now," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I was really impressed with that."It was the fifth straight loss for the Orioles, whose 1-7 start is their worst since they opened the 1988 season with 21 straight defeats.Orioles rookie Brian Matusz carried a 3-0 lead into the eighth. The left-hander struck out Willy Aybar to start the inning, then yielded four straight singles. The last, by Sean Rodriguez, got the Rays to 3-1 and forced Baltimore manager Dave Trembley to go to the bullpen with the bases loaded.Jim Johnson got Ben Zobrist to pop up, but Evan Longoria tied it with a single to left. Will Ohman then gave up an RBI single to Pena and B.J. Upton capped the uprising with a run-scoring double."I still felt good going out in that eighth," Matusz said. "It was just a couple of hits that went through the hole. That's going to happen with a good team like Tampa. Even if things aren't going their way, they don't give in."Those in the crowd of 13,731 who stuck around on the chilly night were rewarded in the bottom half. After Garrett Atkins drew a walk from Dan Wheeler, Luke Scott came up to pinch hit. Maddon brought in lefty Randy Choate, and Scott sent his second pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right.But the Rays won it in the 10th. Zobrist drew a leadoff walk from Matt Albers (0-1) and took second on a wild pitch. After Longoria walked, Pena hit a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats.The home run fulfilled a promise Pena made earlier to Choate, who is 0-1 with a 27.00 ERA."Pena told me, 'Don't worry about it, I'll pick you up. I'll take care of it," Choate said. "I went over to congratulate him after the game and he said, 'I told you I would pick you up. Keep your head up, because we're going to need you. You'll figure it out."Lance Cormier (1-0) worked the ninth, and Rafael Soriano gave up Ty Wigginton's second homer of the game but got three outs for his second save.Matusz struck out eight and walked one in the longest of his nine career starts, but his performance was ruined by those who followed him to the mound."Tonight was similar to what we've been seeing the last week," Trembley said. "We're not closing the games out from the bullpen. We're not getting outs when we need to get outs. We wasted another good start."Rays starter Jeff Niemann gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings. He faced only four batters in his previous appearance, which ended when he was struck in the shoulder by a liner off the bat of Baltimore's Miguel Tejada.Eager to bolster an offense averaging fewer than three runs per game, Trembley shuffled his lineup by putting catcher Matt Wieters in the cleanup spot for the first time, moving Tejada from fourth to second and dropping slumping Adam Jones three notches to fifth.The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the third but were left wanting more. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, Wieters drove in a run with a grounder to first and Jones popped out.Wigginton made it 3-0 in the sixth with a two-run, two-out homer.
Five of Baltimore's nine homers have either tied the game or put the Orioles ahead. ... The Rays placed C Kelly Shoppach on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee sprain and recalled C John Jaso from Triple-A Durham. ... Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett extended his hitting streak at Camden Yards to 18 games with an eighth-inning single.