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O's snap three-game skid with tiebreaking homer in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ramon Hernandez had a breakout game and also helped a teammate overcome a second consecutive rough outing.

Hernandez hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the ninth inning to lead the Baltimore Orioles past the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Saturday night. He carefully watched the drive to make sure it stayed fair.

"When you're having a tough time, you hit the ball hard, you kind of know if it's going to leave or not," said Hernandez, who went 2-for-4 to increase his batting average from .156 to .194. "I was going to make sure it wasn't hooking foul."

Hernandez, who also had a run-scoring triple, gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead on his two-out homer off Dan Wheeler (0-1). The Orioles stopped a three-game losing streak.

Chad Bradford (1-1) worked a scoreless inning for the victory. George Sherrill pitched the ninth for his fifth save in five opportunities.

"Ramon found a way to get the big hit," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "As soon as Hernandez hit the home run, as far as I'm concerned the game is over because Sherrill ain't going to let them score."

Carlos Pena homered for the second straight day off Orioles reliever Jamie Walker, a solo shot in the eighth that tied it at 2. Pena has three homers and seven RBI in the first two games of the three-game series.

"I'm (mad) at myself," Walker said. "Last night I got beat on a bad pitch. I felt tonight I made a decent pitch, but decent pitches don't leave the yard. Obviously he's seeing something off of me. He's hitting like Babe Ruth the last two nights."

Walker gave up just two homers to left-handed batters in 81 appearances last season.

"We won the game, that's what matters," Walker said. "I'm Ramon's biggest fan right now. We've just got to keep plugging away."

Pena has six homers this season. He hit 46 last year, but only four came in April.

"Well, the guy's the natural," Trembley said. "That's what he's swinging it like."

Evan Longoria, taken third overall in the 2006 amateur draft by Tampa Bay, went 1-for-3 with a walk in his major league debut. The third baseman pulled the Rays within 2-1 on his first career hit, a groundball run-scoring single to left in the sixth.

"Nice first game for him," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Good at-bats. Well done."

Longoria admitted he was nervous during his first at-bat, which resulted in a grounder to second.

"It's probably the first in a long time," Longoria said.

Hernandez had an RBI triple in the second that put the Orioles ahead 2-0. It was his sixth career triple, coming on his 3,545th at-bat. Baltimore scored a run in the first when Nick Markakis hit into a double play.

It was the second time Hernandez has homered and tripled in the same game. The other came on Sept. 27, 2005 when he played with San Diego.

Tampa Bay right-hander Jason Hammel gave up two runs and five hits in a career-best seven innings. Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera allowed one run and five hits over 6 2-3 innings.

Notes

  • Markakis stayed in the game after getting hit by a pitch on the left wrist in the eighth. He had an ice pack on the wrist postgame, but he plans to play Sunday.
  • Rays ace Scott Kazmir (left elbow) played catch one day after a 46-pitch batting practice session. He is scheduled to throw two innings in an extended spring training game Tuesday.
  • Tampa Bay RHP Matt Garza (right arm nerve irritation) resumed playing catch.
  • Rays RHP Jeff Niemann, taken fourth overall in the 2004 amateur draft, will make his major league debut Sunday.
  • To make room for Niemann on the roster, the Rays optioned RHP Jae Kuk Ryu to Triple-A Durham.
  • Orioles RHP Matt Albers will start Monday's game against Toronto. RHP Jim Johnson will replace Albers as the long man out of the bullpen.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ramon Hernandez is congratulated at third base after his HR in the ninth puts Baltimore ahead. (AP)
Ramon Hernandez is congratulated at third base after his HR in the ninth puts Baltimore ahead. (AP)

Players of the Game
Baltimore

R. Hernandez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

C. Pena
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4120022 .300
Melvin Mora, 3B3000021 .225
Nick Markakis, RF3010000 .333
Kevin Millar, 1B4000022 .225
Aubrey Huff, DH4110001 .268
Luke Scott, LF4000012 .375
    Jay Payton, LF0000000 .211
Ramon Hernandez, C4122000 .194
Adam Jones, CF4000011 .235
Luis Hernandez, SS2000100 .250
Totals3236218  
Batting
2B - Brian Roberts (5, Hammel), Aubrey Huff (4, Hammel)
3B - Ramon Hernandez (1, Hammel)
HR - Ramon Hernandez (2, Wheeler)
RBI - Ramon Hernandez 2 (7)
2-OUT RBI - Ramon Hernandez (2)
SB - Brian Roberts (4, 3rd base off Hammel/Riggans), Nick Markakis (3, 3rd base off Hammel/Riggans)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - B. Roberts-Hernandez-Millar
E - Brian Roberts (1, Misplayed grounder)
Baltimore Orioles
Daniel Cabrera 6.2511340 5.94
Jamie Walker (BS,2) 0.1111001 9.00
Chad Bradford (W,1-1) 1100110 2.08
George Sherrill (S,5) 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Daniel Cabrera 107-63, Jamie Walker 10-7, Chad Bradford 16-9, George Sherrill 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Daniel Cabrera 9-7, Chad Bradford 1-0
Batters Faced - Daniel Cabrera 28, Jamie Walker 2, Chad Bradford 4, George Sherrill 3
Tampa Bay Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4010121 .250
Carl Crawford, LF4000013 .204
Carlos Pena, 1B3111111 .225
B.J. Upton, CF3120100 .300
Eric Hinske, DH4010002 .296
Evan Longoria, 3B3011100 .333
Nathan Haynes, RF4000013 .227
Shawn Riggans, C4000010 .192
Elliot Johnson, SS3010000 .200
   a- Jonny Gomes, PH1000000 .286
Totals3327246  
a-flied out for Johnson in the 9th
Batting
HR - Carlos Pena (6, Walker)
RBI - Carlos Pena (13), Evan Longoria (1)
CS - B.J. Upton (1, 2nd base by Bradford/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Johnson-Iwamura-Pena
E - Shawn Riggans (1, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Hammel 7522160 4.15
J.P. Howell 1000020 3.18
Trever Miller 0.2000000 4.15
Dan Wheeler (L,0-1) 0.1111001 1.59
HBP - Mora (by Jason Hammel), Markakis (by J.P. Howell)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Hammel 103-65, J.P. Howell 17-11, Trever Miller 8-6, Dan Wheeler 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Hammel 7-7, J.P. Howell 1-0
Batters Faced - Jason Hammel 27, J.P. Howell 4, Trever Miller 2, Dan Wheeler 2
Game Information
Attendance - 19295
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano