Orioles break out bats, beat Rays to avoid sweep

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman delivers to Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Joyce during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman delivers to Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Joyce during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara, Carroll County Times)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Baltimore Orioles hadn't been hitting. In the first two games at Tampa Bay, they'd scored just one run on six hits.

Sunday was different.

The Orioles tied a season high by scoring 10 runs and held on for a 10-7 win over the Rays before 19,921 at Tropicana Field.

Baltimore (35-28) scored nine runs off Matt Moore and survived as Tampa Bay (34-28) scored three runs in the eighth and a run in the ninth. They had the tying run on, but Jim Johnson earned his 21st save by getting Kelly Johnson to pop up, ending the game.

"The American League East is tough," manager Buck Showalter said. "We faced a really good pitcher again today and we were able to string some things together."

Moore (8-2) has allowed 14 earned runs in seven-plus innings in his last two games, and the Orioles tattooed him for 12 hits in five innings.

But, the Rays kept coming.

"The fact that they got the tying run up to the plate shows that they don't die, either. They keep fighting, just like us," J.J. Hardy said.

Hardy, Adam Jones and Steve Pearce each had three hits. Hardy, Jones, Nick Markakis and Alexi Casilla each had two RBIs.

The Orioles scored two runs in the first, three each in the second and third and another in the fourth on Jones' 12th home run of the year.

After they had the 9-1 lead, Chris Tillman didn't relax.

"Kept pitching instead of pitching to the lead," Showalter said.

After six innings, Tillman (6-2) was removed. He gave up three runs on four hits.

He was relieved Baltimore's offense backed him.

"I'll take all the runs we can possibly score," Tillman said. "You've got to go out there and pitch as if it's a 0-0 ballgame. It's one of the learning curves in this game. You've got to go out there no matter what and pitch your butt off."

Darren O'Day struck out the side in the seventh, and Brian Matusz allowed a two-run home run to Sam Fuld, his first in more than two years.

After Matusz gave up three more hits and another run, Tommy Hunter came in to strike out Desmond Jennings. Hunter gave up two hits in the ninth, and Johnson allowed a run to score on Jose Lobaton's single before Kelly Johnson popped out.

The Orioles left for home leading Tampa Bay by a half-game. The Rays have won seven of the 12 games between the teams, which don't play again until late August. Casilla thinks the division race will change markedly by then.

"This is a great team. I guarantee you we're going to be in first really quick," Casilla said.

NOTES: Jones and Hardy were happy with the news that they were leading All-Star balloting among outfielders and shortstops.

"I think it's cool that not just myself but a few other Orioles are starting to get more recognition. We play good baseball. We play hard baseball and it's cool too that more than one guy on this team is getting recognition," Jones said.

The Orioles have mounted an aggressive campaign to encourage All-Star voting. With Jones, Hardy and Chris Davis leading among first basemen, they could have three starters for the first time since 1997 when Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken were voted in.

"It just says that the fans are out there voting. People out in Baltimore. Maybe my dad's sitting at his computer at home. I don't know, but it says people are voting," Hardy said.

Voting ends on July 4. The game will take place at New York's Citi Field on July 16.

Davis went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series.

Steve Johnson had an MRI and was diagnosed with a slightly sprained left oblique muscle. He was placed on the disabled list on Thursday.

Brian Roberts, who hasn't played since April. 4 with a strained hamstring, accompanied the team to Baltimore to continue his rehabilitation.

Casilla had a streak of 19 straight steals ended in the ninth inning. He was last thrown out on May 27, 2012.