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Orioles 3, Rays 1

The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles defeated Tampa Bay 3-1 on Thursday night at Tropicana Field, completing their first road sweep of the Rays since April 2011.

Baltimore (18-14) scored three early runs off Tampa Bay starter David Price (3-3) and wriggled out of a few jams, eventually escaping Tropicana Field with the club's first three-game series sweep since July 19-21 at Texas.

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (2-4) turned in a solid start for the Orioles, allowing one run, seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. After narrowly escaping a big inning in the fifth, he turned the game over to right-hander Ryan Webb.

Webb found himself with runners on second and third base with two outs in the sixth, but he induced pinch-hitter Ryan Hanigan to ground out to Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy to end the inning.

That was not the last time the Rays threatened to make it interesting.

In the seventh, Tampa Bay (15-20) drew two walks, but Webb struck out Rays third baseman Evan Longoria before giving way to lefty reliever Brian Matusz to face first baseman James Loney. The dangerous late-game hitter worked a full count against Matusz but wound up flying out to Adam Jones in center field.

The Rays rallied again in the ninth, leading off the inning with two hits against reliever Darren O'Day. But center fielder Desmond Jennings grounded into a double play and left fielder Matt Joyce bounced out as Tampa Bay suffered its first sweep of three games or more at home since June 12-14, 2012.

The Rays struck quickly, scoring a run in the first against Jimenez. Jennings reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, took third on Joyce's flyout and scored on Longoria's two-out single to right.

After getting two quick outs in the second, Price gave up a double to Hardy. First baseman Steve Pearce then worked a full count and crushed a 94 mph fastball into the left-field stands for his second homer of the year, putting the Orioles ahead by a run.

Baltimore added to its lead in the fourth, when Pearce and second baseman Jonathan Schoop put together back-to-back two-out singles off Price to drive in center fielder Adam Jones.

The Rays had their best chance to swing the game back in their favor in the fifth, loading the bases with one out for Longoria. But he bounced into an inning-ending double play that was confirmed after an instant-replay review prompted by Rays manager Joe Maddon.

NOTES: Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was ejected by home-plate umpire Marty Foster after the top of the first inning for arguing a checked-swing call on CF Adam Jones. ... With a third-inning single, Orioles OF Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to 15 games. ... Orioles 1B Chris Davis (left oblique strain) is expected to take pregame batting practice on Friday. He likely will need a brief minor league rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the Orioles. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb (left oblique strain) is scheduled to pitch to hitters on Friday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list on April 13. ... RHP Dylan Bundy, the top prospect recovering from Tommy John surgery last June, threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Thursday and will face hitters for the first time in nearly a year on Tuesday. ... The Rays will remain home on Friday to kick off a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians. RHP Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 6.83 ERA) is scheduled to start against Indians RHP Corey Kluber (2-3, 3.60). ... The Orioles head to Camden Yards to begin a three-game series against the Astros starting Friday, when LHP Wei-Yin Chen (3-2, 4.24 ERA) takes on Astros RHP Scott Feldman (2-1, 1.69).
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