|Tampa Bay (1-1) «||0||0||0||0||0||4||3||0||1||8||14||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays kept swinging until they finally found a way to win.
Matt Joyce hit a towering homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning and the Rays twice came from behind before a wasting a late two-run lead in an 8-7 victory against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Joyce began a rally from a 5-4 deficit with a pinch-hit bunt single in the seventh and won it after closer Fernando Rodney, one of the keys to the Dominican Republic's dominant run to the World Baseball Classic title, blew a save opportunity by allowing a run for the first time since last Aug. 18.
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"You wouldn't think that would happen, but I guess they say everything happens for a reason," Joyce said of Rodney, who gave up a run for the first time in 20 appearances dating back to last season.
Rodney (1-0) also was on the mound for the final out in all eight of the Dominicans' victories in the WBC and did not allow a run.
"To get the first win out of the way, and to have it in dramatic fashion kind of seems to be the Rays way," Joyce said. "We're going to have fun this year."
"It was entertaining for most people here. Didn't like the way it ended, but good things happened. We'll dwell on those," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Wei-Yin presented himself well. Chris Davis continues to swing the bat. ... I liked the way our guys kept fighting back."
Davis went 4 for 4 for the Orioles, hitting a three-run homer for the second straight day and driving in four runs. He also had an RBI single and two doubles.
Much to the delight of Rays manager Joe Maddon, the left-handed hitting Joyce bunted up the third base line to beat Baltimore's defensive shift in the seventh.
He won it leading off the ninth by pulling a pitch from Tommy Hunter (0-1) over the right-field wall.
"In that situation, I'm just trying to get on base and play the game," Joyce said of the bunt. "Joe always talks about playing the game and taking what they give you. And in that situation that's all I tried to do, just get on base and hopefully somebody would drive me in. If they're going to give you the opportunity, then go ahead and take it."
Duncan's first hit for his new team finished a four-run sixth that wiped out an early 4-0 deficit. The Orioles regained a one-run lead in the seventh, only to watch the Rays answer with three more runs to go ahead 7-5.
But Baltimore wasn't finished, scoring on Matt Wieters' RBI single in the eighth and Roberts' tying double.
Joyce bunted for a single in the seventh and later scored on a wild pitch. Pinch hitter James Loney's double off Strop put the Rays ahead, and Zobrist's second RBI single of the night made it 7-5.
"I was right there. I was making good pitches ... Balls were just able to find holes," Strop said.
Davis' home run came off Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, landing in the mostly empty stands in left-center field. After drawing a sellout crowd of 34,078 on Tuesday, attendance was announced as 15,599 for the middle date of a three-game series.
The 27-year-old Chen won a team-leading 12 games as a rookie last season, the most wins by an Orioles pitcher since Erik Bedard won 13 in 2007.
Down 4-0, Tampa Bay broke through in the sixth. Zobrist chased Chen with a two-out RBI single and Duncan's home run made it 4-4.
|Matt Joyce delivers a game-ending home run in the bottom of the ninth for the Rays. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Nate McLouth, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.250|
|Manny Machado, 3B||5||1||1||0||0||1||2||.222|
|Nick Markakis, RF||5||1||1||0||0||0||2||.200|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.444|
|Chris Davis, 1B||4||2||4||4||0||0||0||.625|
|Matt Wieters, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.429|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.111|
|Nolan Reimold, DH||2||2||0||0||2||1||0||.333|
|Brian Roberts, 2B||4||0||2||1||0||0||0||.500|
|2B - Manny Machado (1, Hellickson), Chris Davis 2 (2, Hellickson, Peralta), Brian Roberts (1, Rodney)|
|HR - Chris Davis (2, Hellickson)|
|SH - Nate McLouth (1)|
|RBI - Nate McLouth (1), Chris Davis 4 (7), Matt Wieters (3), Brian Roberts (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chris Davis 4 (7), Matt Wieters (3)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hardy-B. Roberts-Davis, Machado-B. Roberts-Davis, Hardy-B. Roberts-Davis|
|Luis Ayala (BS,1)||0.1||2||2||2||0||1||1||54.00|
|Pedro Strop (BS,1)||1||4||3||3||0||1||0||27.00|
|Tommy Hunter (L,0-1)||1||1||1||1||0||0||1||9.00|
|WP - Pedro Strop (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wei-Yin Chen 84-53, Luis Ayala 14-7, Pedro Strop 25-16, Tommy Hunter 13-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wei-Yin Chen 8-2, Pedro Strop 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Wei-Yin Chen 21, Luis Ayala 3, Pedro Strop 7, Tommy Hunter 4|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||.500|
|Sean Rodriguez, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|a- James Loney, PH-1B||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||.333|
|Ben Zobrist, RF-2B||4||1||2||2||0||1||0||.571|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.375|
|Shelley Duncan, DH||4||1||1||3||0||1||1||.200|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.125|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.500|
|b- Sam Fuld, PH-RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jose Lobaton, C||2||0||1||0||0||1||1||.500|
|c- Matt Joyce, PH-LF||2||2||2||1||0||0||0||.500|
|Kelly Johnson, 1B||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||.200|
|Jose Molina, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-doubled for S. Rodriguez in the 7th|
|b-lined out for Roberts in the 7th|
|c-hit a bunt single for Lobaton in the 7th|
|2B - Desmond Jennings (2, Chen), James Loney (1, Strop), Yunel Escobar (1, Chen)|
|HR - Shelley Duncan (1, Ayala), Matt Joyce (1, Hunter)|
|RBI - James Loney (1), Ben Zobrist 2 (4), Shelley Duncan 3 (3), Matt Joyce (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - James Loney (1), Ben Zobrist 2 (2), Shelley Duncan 3 (3)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Escobar-Roberts-Johnson|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Joel Peralta (H,1)||1||2||1||1||0||1||0||9.00|
|Fernando Rodney (BS,1; W,1-0)||1||1||1||1||1||0||0||9.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 94-64, Kyle Farnsworth 4-3, Joel Peralta 20-13, Fernando Rodney 19-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 11-6, Kyle Farnsworth 1-0, Joel Peralta 1-1, Fernando Rodney 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 28, Kyle Farnsworth 1, Joel Peralta 5, Fernando Rodney 5|
|Attendance - 15599|
|Game Time - 2:56|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - John Hirschbeck|