Orioles 9, Devil Rays 7

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BALTIMORE (AP)—The Baltimore Orioles made the most of one big inning.

Tony Batista’s two-run single capped an eight-run second inning that carried the Baltimore Orioles to a 9-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night.

Batista later hit a solo homer, finishing with three RBIs as the Orioles won their third straight.

“The bats woke up for one inning tonight, but that was enough,” said Baltimore’s Jay Gibbons who had two hits and an RBI in the second. “We took advantage when we had to. It’s good to see us scoring runs this early in the season.”

In their last six games, the Orioles have scored 39 runs and won four times.

Jason Johnson (2-0) allowed four runs—three earned—on eight hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out four.

But Johnson, who retired the first six hitters in order, wasn’t the same after being staked to the big lead.

“After the eight-run inning, I lost my focus,” he said. “I had to step back and kind of realize what I was doing. I went out and threw fastballs right off the bat, but I couldn’t locate it at all.”

Rey Ordonez matched his career high with his third homer for the Devil Rays, who have lost four straight and six of seven. Toby Hall added a three-run homer off Rick Bauer in the ninth inning.

Jorge Julio then came on and got three outs for his fourth save.

Tampa Bay starting pitchers still have not won a game this season and right-hander Victor Zambrano’s second-inning struggles kept that streak intact.

“I think I’m going to buy the first starter who gets a win a nice big steak,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “You just can’t fall behind consistently in ballgames and have to claw your way back to get respectable. We’re not going to watch this for long.”

The Orioles sent 13 men to the plate in the second, taking an 8-0 lead. Zambrano (0-2) threw 54 pitches in the inning, hit a batter and walked four, including two with the bases loaded. No one warmed up in the bullpen until after Batista’s two-out, two-run finished the scoring.

Jeff Conine led off the inning with a double and the Orioles quickly loaded the bases on Jay Gibbons’ single and a walk to Batista. Marty Cordova drew a walk for a 1-0 lead and Deivi Cruz grounded out, scoring Gibbons.

Zambrano grazed Geronimo Gil with a pitch to load the bases before Jerry Hairston’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0. Gary Matthews Jr. then hit an RBI double, Conine walked with the bases loaded and Batista singled home two runs.

Cordova flied out to end the inning, starting a streak of 12 straight hitters retired by Zambrano before he walked Hairston with two outs in the sixth. Zambrano went six innings, allowing eight earned, six hits and five walks.

Ordonez hit a two-run home run off Jason Johnson with one out in the third. The Devil Rays got within 8-3 in the fourth when Al Martin doubled, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Damion Easley’s single to right.

Marlon Anderson’s run-scoring infield single in the sixth made it 8-4.

Batista hit a solo homer to left-center off reliever Jesus Colome in theseventh.


Ordonez has three homers in 16 games this season. He hit three in 149 games with the New York Mets in 2001 and entered the season with eight homers in 916 career games. … Before his RBI single, Easley was in a 3-for-26 slump. … Lifetime versus Zambrano, Gibbons is 5-for-9 with three RBIs. … The Orioles’ winning streak is their best since winning four straight last Aug. 19-23. The first three victories in that streak came against Tampa Bay. …Tampa Bay rookie OF Rocco Baldelli had two hits, giving him 26 in 16 games.

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