ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles' worst stretch in two decades is over.
"It was like time stood still for about 15 seconds. I had to let it just sink in for a while," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "You'll remember this one more so than the other ones. It's been an experience I'd rather not have to duplicate again."
The skid was the longest in the majors this season and the third-worst in Orioles history. Baltimore dropped 14 consecutive games in August 1954 and opened the 1988 season by losing 21 straight.
"I can't explain it to you," Trembley added. "It's unbelievable."
Waters (1-0), making his 12th career start and first since Sept. 26, 2008, gave up two hits, three walks and struck out two. The left-hander has four appearances out of the bullpen this year, posting an 8.10 ERA.
"It was great for him, and obviously tremendous for our team," Trembley said. "He's a local kid. He had a lot of family here. It worked out."
Waters, from nearby Lakeland, won for the first time since Sept. 16, 2008. He was the final opposing starter at the old Yankee Stadium last season.
"I think [I was] more nervous here than New York last year," he said.
Ben Zobrist hit his 27th home run for the Rays. Matt Garza (8-12) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
"I don't think anybody in here wants the season to end on Sunday," Zobrist said. "It's just the way that it is."
Baltimore finished with a road record of 25-56 this season, the third-lowest victory total in franchise history.
Nick Markakis put the Orioles ahead with a run-scoring single in the first. He has eight RBI over his past 25 games.
Baltimore took a 3-0 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Melvin Mora and Jeff Fiorentino.
Zobrist's home run made it 3-1 in the fourth. He has seven home runs and 18 RBI in 16 games against Baltimore this year.
Orioles relievers Cla Meredith, Alberto Castillo and Danys Baez combined for three scoreless innings before Jim Johnson, who gave up a sacrifice fly to Pat Burrell, got three outs for his ninth save.
Johnson got Akinori Iwamura to hit a game-ending comebacker with runners on first and third.
"The ninth inning was a piece of cake," a smiling Trembley said. "I thought it was a pretty basic formula there in the ninth compared to what we've been going through."
Tampa Bay fell to 50-28 at home. The defending AL champions close the season with three home games against the AL East champion New York Yankees beginning Friday night.
"We're very excited about playing them, actually," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's the last three games of the season."
Garza is 6-1 in his career against Baltimore. ... Orioles LF Luke Scott (sore left foot) didn't play. There is a chance he might return before the season ends. ... Tampa Bay 1B Willy Aybar swiped third in the second inning for his first stolen base of the season. He has seven steals overall in 302 career games. ... Baltimore has allowed 212 home run s this season.