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Wieters' 10th-inning slam lifts Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- It might be a new season, but extra innings still bring the Orioles some extra fun.

Matt Wieters belted a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Orioles a wild 10-6 victory over Tampa Bay in the finale of a three-game series on Thursday night before 13,986 at Camden Yards.

That gave the Orioles their 17th straight extra-inning win in the regular season dating to 2012. Baltimore went 16-2 in those games last year, including 16 straight wins. They lost an extra-inning game to the Yankees in the American League Division Series, but this was the first extra-inning game of 2013.

The Orioles won after falling behind three times and allowing four homers.

"It was a good game for us," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "To beat them in the series at home, and we knew it was going to be a really tough challenge with (starter David) Price out there. To be down 3-0 there with Price and being able to figure out a way, there was a lot of frustration funneled in the right direction after we got down."

The Orioles (8-7) used homers to bring them back. Nolan Reimold hit a two-run shot in the third and Steve Pearce added a two-run blast in the seventh.

But it was the Wieters blast that capped it off.

Nick Markakis started the winning rally with a leadoff single against Jamey Wright (0-1). Brandon Gomes came on to face Manny Machado. The third baseman tried to sacrifice Markakis to second, but his bunt rolled slowly up the first-base line and the Rays couldn't get him in time.

Adam Jones then lined a shot off the wall to deep right, Markakis got the stop sign coming around third and the Orioles were left with the bases loaded and none out. Wieters then ripped Gomes' first pitch deep into the seats in right center for the grand slam.

"I felt like it was going to go, and I knew it was going to get a run in, whether it went out or not, I knew the game was going to be over," Wieters said. "That was a good feeling."

It was the first walkoff grand slam for Baltimore since Harold Baines did it on May 4, 1999, against the Chicago White Sox.

That gave Baltimore the win despite allowing those four Tampa Bay homers. Rays manager Joe Maddon argued on the Jones hit, which banged off the wall in right and caused some momentary chaos on the basepaths.

Jones and Machado both had gone past second, but Markakis stopped at third. So everyone had to go back. The Rays appealed that Jones didn't touch second on his way back to first. The umpires wouldn't call Jones out, though, and Wieters homered on the next pitch.

Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez allowed three of the homers but battled to get through 5 2/3 innings. He retired 10 straight at one point and gave up five runs and eight hits, but more important, the right-hander kept the Orioles close.

"Guys were telling me you kept us in the game," Gonzalez said. "That's important. It wasn't the best outing on my part."

Troy Patton (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless 10th.

Tampa Bay went ahead 5-4 in the sixth on a Jose Molina homer off Gonzalez. The Orioles then took a 6-5 lead on Steve Pearce's two-run homer off Jake McGee in the seventh. Pearce had been 0 for 15 this season before thr homer.

But Tampa Bay tied it on a James Loney blast against Darren O'Day in the top of the eighth, the Rays' fourth homer.

The Rays homered in the first inning in the first two games of the series and did it again in this contest.

Desmond Jennings belted his second leadoff homer of the series, hitting a 1-and-2 fastball into the left-field seats off Gonzalez. Evan Longoria followed two outs later with a blast, giving the Rays a 2-0 lead just 12 pitches into the game.

Jennings helped again in the second when his sacrifice fly to left drove in Loney for a 3-0 lead.

Baltimore bounced back in the bottom of the inning, tying the score on a Chris Davis RBI single and Reimold's two-run homer.

But an Orioles error helped Tampa Bay go back in front in the third. Shortstop J.J. Hardy was trying to complete a double play, but his throw to first sailed high and off the glove of Gonzalez and into the seats. Matt Joyce scored to make it 4-3.

Machado tied it with his two-out double in the fifth. The shot to left center scored Alexi Casilla, but the Rays then caught Markakis in an inning-ending rundown.

This game wound up being the first time in his career that Price lost leads on three separate occasions in a game. He gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings plus one batter and is still looking for his first win.

The Rays showed some life on offense in the last two games. They scored 12 runs and banged out six homers, and that gave Maddon some cause for optimism, even though Tampa Bay ended the road trip at 2-7.

"Offense was fantastic (in the series)," Maddon said. "We did a lot of good things, but Baltimore outplayed us in this series. They beat us in the end, so I've got to give them credit."

NOTES: Reimold's homer was the first hit he had against Tampa Bay this season, Prior to that, Reimold was 0 for 7 against the Rays. ... The Orioles came into the game looking for solutions to their problems with designated hitters, who were just 3 for 47 (.064) this season. ... The Rays entered the series finale with an impressive 3.06 ERA during the first eight games of their road trip -- despite the fact that they had only a 2-6 record. It's the start of a stretch where the Rays will be playing 20 of 26 games on the road.
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