Jonathan Schoop crushed a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie, and Adam Jones two solo homers help lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, and secure their second series win over the Rays this season.
After seeing the Rays tie the game at two in the bottom of the sixth, Schoop found himself with a runner on first with two outs and in an 0-2 count, but he turned on an inside fastball and smoked it deep into the left field stands to put Baltimore up for good.
Prior to the seventh, the Orioles offense had consisted of Jones sitting on a first pitch fastball from Cesar Ramos. Both in the second and fourth innings, Jones led off the inning with a solo home run to dead center field on a first pitch fastball from Ramos. It was a big breakout for Jones, who entered the game with just one home run on the season.
Nick Markakis extended his hit streak to 14 games with a lead off single in the first inning, while JJ Hardy, Delmon Young, and Steve Pearce each had a hit apiece to account for the rest of the Orioles seven hits in the game.
Bud Norris (2-2) got the start on the mound for the Birds and pitched fairly well, especially when you consider that in five of the six innings he pitched in, he allowed the leadoff man on base. Despite that, Norris did not allow a run until the fifth inning when he surrendered a solo home run to David DeJesus.
Oddly enough, the only inning he retired the leadoff man would be his last as he could not get the third out in the sixth inning after retiring the first two hitters, and Brian Matusz would allow his first inherited runner (had stranded all nine this season) to score when Sean Rodriguez knocked in the tying run on a RBI single off Matusz. When Norris' day was done, he had tossed 5 2/3 innings while allowing two runs on three hits, four walks and five strike outs and 55 of his 101 pitches went for strikes.
Ryan Webb got the final out in the sixth and tossed a scoreless seventh as well, while Zach Britton tossed a scoreless eighth.
Tommy Hunter picked up his tenth save of the season, but allowed a run and needed to retire back-to-back hitters with the tying run on third in order to secure the victory.
In addition to the game winning two run home run, Schoop and several Orioles flashed some leather last night to look more like the defense we are all accustomed to.
The win clinches a series victory for the Birds as they will attempt to complete the sweep tonight and improve to 5-0 against the Tampa Bay Rays this season as they send Ubaldo Jimenez (1-4) to the mound to square off against Rays' ace David Price (3-2). Jimenez will be looking to continue his turnaround after his brilliant start in his last outing.
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