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Baltimore at Tampa Bay

Baltimore (1-2) «001004000590
Tampa Bay (2-1)002000110460

Orioles 5, Rays 4

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In his first start of the year, Brian Matusz picked up where he left off.

He allowed two runs over five innings, Garrett Atkins had two RBI and the Baltimore Orioles avoided a season-opening three-game sweep by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Thursday night.

Matusz showed the mental toughness of a veteran, too.

"That's it in a nutshell," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "This is his first full year in the big leagues, but he showed what he's made of. He can make adjustments on the fly. A lot of young guys aren't able to do that."

Matusz (1-0) overcame control problems to win his fifth straight decision. The left-hander walked a career-high five, allowed two hits and struck out seven.

"I can't remember the last time I walked that many guys in one ballgame," Matusz said. "I was amped up and I was trying to do too much. It's nice to go out on a good note."

Matusz ended his outing by striking out all three batters in the fifth.

Matt Wieters had a RBI single and Atkins drove in a pair of runs with a single during a four-run sixth that gave the Orioles a 5-2 advantage. Baltimore had loaded the bases with no outs on a single, hit by pitch and walk against Mike Ekstrom (0-1).

The Rays drew just 16,191 to their third game of the season. They open another AL East series with the Yankees Friday.

Rays starter Jeff Niemann left with one out in the second due to a bruised right shoulder, which occurred when he was hit by Miguel Tejada's line drive. The team said Niemann is day to day.

"Hopefully I should be back out there in five days," Niemann said. "It's pretty sore, it tightened up a lot. It's just muscle. X-rays are fine. There's nothing really wrong."

Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro pulled Tampa Bay to 5-3 on an RBI grounder in the seventh. Evan Longoria made it 5-4 with a run-scoring single off Jim Johnson during the eighth.

Longoria was 5 for 12 with two homers and five RBI in the series.

Jason Bartlett had an RBI single and Carl Crawford hit a sacrifice fly as the Rays went ahead 2-1 in the third. Matusz started the inning by walking Pat Burrell, Gabe Kapler and Kelly Shoppach.

"After walking the 7-8-9 guys, it's tough," Matusz said. "With no outs and a run already in, giving up just one more was huge for me."

Nolan Reimold put the Orioles up 1-0 with a third-inning solo homer.

Michael Gonzalez struggled in the ninth en route to his first save of the season. After starting the inning with two strikeouts, the left-hander then loaded the bases on a single and two walks before getting Ben Zobrist to fly out.

"We had everything set up the way we wanted," Crawford said. "Had Zobrist. You can't ask for more. We just came up short."

Gonzalez blew a save on Tuesday, allowing two runs in the ninth of the Orioles' 4-3 loss.

"From what I understand and the people that I talk to, more times than not he's going to keep you on the edge of your seat," Trembley said. "It's not always pretty, but he gets it done."

Baltimore's Brian Roberts ended an 0 for 11 slide with an infield single during the fifth. He was limited to six games in spring training because of a slightly herniated disc in his back.

Wieters went 2 for 4, and became the first Orioles' catcher to open the season with three consecutive multihit games.


Trembley said the Rays have "as good a rotation as anybody in this division." ... Baltimore LF Felix Pie (left rotator cuff strain) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. ... Johnson has been slowed by elbow tightness. ... Orioles TV analyst Jim Palmer missed Thursday's broadcast due to a bad chest cold and was replaced by Roch Kubatko. ... SS Tim Beckham, taken first overall by Tampa Bay in the 2008 amateur draft, will start the season at Class A Charlotte on the DL with a left wrist injury.

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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Players of the Game

G. Atkins
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

B. Matusz
IP 5.0
H 2
ER 2
BB 5
K 7

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4020101 .143
Adam Jones, CF5000014 .286
Nick Markakis, RF4110100 .200
Miguel Tejada, 3B4100002 .083
Luke Scott, LF3110110 .200
Matt Wieters, C4121011 .500
Nolan Reimold, DH4111013 .250
Garrett Atkins, 1B4022011 .333
Julio Lugo, SS4000012 .000
2B - Brian Roberts (1, Wheeler), Luke Scott (1, Sonnanstine), Garrett Atkins (3, Sonnanstine)
HR - Nolan Reimold (1, Sonnanstine)
RBI - Matt Wieters (2), Nolan Reimold (1), Garrett Atkins 2 (3)
SB - Brian Roberts (1, 2nd base off Sonnanstine/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 8
Baltimore Orioles
Brian Matusz (W,1-0) 5222570 3.60
Matt Albers (H,2) 2111110 2.70
Will Ohman (H,2) 0.1000000 0.00
Jim Johnson (H,2) 0.2211000 5.40
Mike Gonzalez (S,1) 1100220 13.50
Pitches-Strikes - Brian Matusz 97-55, Matt Albers 33-20, Will Ohman 2-1, Jim Johnson 14-7, Mike Gonzalez 26-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Albers 2-3, Will Ohman 1-0, Jim Johnson 1-1
Batters Faced - Brian Matusz 20, Matt Albers 8, Will Ohman 1, Jim Johnson 4, Mike Gonzalez 6
Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS5021011 .385
Carl Crawford, LF2001210 .200
Ben Zobrist, 2B-RF5110015 .308
Evan Longoria, 3B4021012 .417
Carlos Pena, 1B4000012 .250
B.J. Upton, CF3000111 .200
Pat Burrell, DH2200220 .111
Gabe Kapler, RF1100101 .000
   a- Reid Brignac, PH-2B1010000 .750
   b- Sean Rodriguez, PH1000010 .200
Kelly Shoppach, C1000110 .200
   c- Dioner Navarro, PH-C1001100 .500
a-singled for Kapler in the 7th
b-struck out for Brignac in the 9th
c-hit into fielder's choice for Shoppach in the 7th
3B - Ben Zobrist (1, Johnson)
SF - Carl Crawford (1)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (2), Carl Crawford (3), Evan Longoria (5), Dioner Navarro (1)
SB - B.J. Upton (1, 2nd base off Matusz/Wieters)
CS - Carl Crawford (1, 2nd base by Matusz/Wieters), Evan Longoria (1, 2nd base by Matusz/Wieters)
Team LOB - 8
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 1.1000000 0.00
Andy Sonnanstine 3.1411111 2.70
Mike Ekstrom (L,0-1) 0.1133110 81.00
Grant Balfour (BS,1) 2211020 4.50
Randy Choate 0.1100010 0.00
Dan Wheeler 1.2100110 0.00
IBB - Markakis by Dan Wheeler
HBP - Tejada (by Mike Ekstrom)
WP - Grant Balfour (1), Dan Wheeler (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 11-9, Andy Sonnanstine 54-34, Mike Ekstrom 18-9, Grant Balfour 30-18, Randy Choate 8-5, Dan Wheeler 21-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 3-1, Andy Sonnanstine 4-5, Grant Balfour 3-1, Dan Wheeler 3-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 4, Andy Sonnanstine 15, Mike Ekstrom 4, Grant Balfour 8, Randy Choate 2, Dan Wheeler 7
Game Information
Attendance - 16191
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Kerwin Danley