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Rays hold on to beat Orioles 12-10

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- One day after blowing a ninth inning lead to the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays made sure they did not let another game slip away Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

Kelly Johnson homered and drove in four runs, and the Rays outlasted the Orioles 12-10 before an announced 38,061 Friday at Oriole Park.

The Rays led 12-4 heading into the eighth inning before the Orioles scored six times to cut into the margin. Chris Dickerson led the charge with a two-out, three-run homer. Joel Peralta, however, closed out the game for the Rays with a scoreless ninth.

"We've lost some huge leads," said Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose team has given up the lead after the seventh inning eight times this season. "But we have bounced back in a good way. That's the one part of baseball that is probably the most devastating within a group is to lose leads, late, often. That is not good."

Every player in the starting lineup for both teams had at least a hit.

Orioles starter Jason Hammel had another rough outing and failed to last six innings for the third time in his past four starts. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings. Hammel fell to 5-2 on the season and his ERA rose from 4.93 to 5.72.

"I've been here before," Hammel said. "I've figured it out before. I'm not going to continue to beat myself up. Get back to work in two days."

Jeremy Hellickson also had uneven start for the Rays. He gave up seven runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 7 2/3 innings. He evened his record to 2-2 and picked up his first victory since April 20. Hellickson tied a franchise record for most earned runs allowed in a victory.

The Orioles opened their eight-game homestand with two losses to San Diego and were swept for the first time this season. The Rays continued the Orioles' woes in the series opener by scoring a season-high 12 runs. The teams combined for 30 hits.

Yunel Escobar, who entered the game batting .211, went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Tampa Bay. Johnson also went 3-for-5 and was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.

"They're an unbelievable offensive team," Johnson said about the Orioles. "Give them a little bit of credit. Those are tough situations. When you get a big comfortable lead like that, it's pretty easy to let your guard down."

The Orioles lost for the fourth time in the past five games. Just two days after allowing a then season-high 17 hits to the Padres, Baltimore pitchers gave up another 17 hits to the Rays.

Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado each had two RBIs for the Orioles.

"I don't want say a loss is a loss," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I felt like we we're going to make a run at them somewhere if we could keep them from scoring. That was our challenge tonight. Obviously not just with Hamm, but we dug ourselves a pretty big hole. Get the tying run to the plate there, pretty proud of them, but very obvious we didn't pitch very tonight as a group."

Friday was the opening contest of a six-game road trip for the Rays, who took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria.

Hellickson coughed it up in the bottom half of that inning by allowing a lead-off single to Nate McLouth and then a double to Manny Machado. After Hellickson retired the next two batters, Chris Davis lined a single to right field that scored both runners.

J.J. Hardy increased the Orioles' lead to 3-1 by leading off the second with his eighth home run of the season. Hardy also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, which is the longest by an Oriole this season.

Hammel, however, continued his season-long struggle to get through the early innings. He allowed the Rays to take a 5-3 lead in the third on a sacrifice fly by James Loney and a three-run homer by Kelly Johnson that barely cleared the grounds crew shed in right field.

The Rays chased Hammel in the fifth with an RBI single by Johnson that increased their lead to 6-3. Hammel threw 99 pitches including 58 strikes. Alex Burnett entered and allowed two more runs on a single by Desmond Jennings.

The Orioles pulled to within 8-4 when Yamaico Navarro led off the fifth with a triple to right, and scored on a ground out by Machado.

"We're kind of getting back to the things we can do, hold the lead for the guys," Peralta said. "The guys hitting are doing a great job and we've been blowing some games. So, tonight was special to me."

NOTES: Second baseman Ben Zobrist doubled and singled in his first two-at bats, snapping an 0-for-12 slump while picking up his 12th multi-hit game of the season ... Longoria extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third. ... Tampa Bay has not designated a starter for Monday's series opener at Toronto. ... Entering Friday, the 18 multi-hit games by Machado are the most by any player under age 21 in the live ball era (since 1921). ... Nate McLouth ended an 0-for-14 skid with a single in the first.
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