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Orioles: Wieters, Birds walk off in grand style

BALTIMORE - Extra-inning wins were a big reason for the Baltimore Orioles' success in 2012.

Matt Wieters had an opportunity to give Baltimore its first extra-inning win of this season in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday.

The Orioles catcher came up to bat with the bases loaded and no outs. And Wieters delivered.

He drilled the first pitch he saw off of Tampa Bay reliever Brandon Gomes into deep right field and it sailed into the stands for a grand slam, lifting the Orioles to a 10-6 win before 13,986 at Camden Yards.

It was the first walk-off grand slam by an Oriole since Harold Baines did it May 4, 1999. Baltimore (8-7) has now won 17 consecutive regular-season extra-inning games after going 16-2 in 2012.

"Anytime you get to get a walk-off and get to celebrate with your teammates is a good day," Wieters said. "I felt like it was going to go, but more importantly I knew it was going to get a run in and whether it went out or not, I knew the game was going to be over."

Nick Markakis led off the 10th with a single up the middle. Manny Machado then dropped a bunt down the first-base line and beat out the throw.

Adam Jones followed with a hit off the right-field wall, but Markakis stopped at third, forcing Machado to sprint back to second and Jones back to first. There was no Rays player covering first or else Jones would've been out.

Wieters followed with the game-winner.

The Orioles bullpen pitched 4 1-3 innings, giving up just one run after starter Miguel Gonzalez exited in the sixth inning. Troy Patton (1-0) earned the win after pitching the 10th.

An Evan Longoria home run and Desmond Jennings RBI sacrifice fly gave Tampa Bay (5-10) an early 3-0 lead.

The Orioles fought back in their half of the second. Chris Davis hit an RBI single, collecting his 20th RBI of the season, after Wieters led off with a double down the first-base line. Later in the inning, Nolan Reimold hit a two-run blast to tie the game at 3-3.

Reimold wasn't the only Baltimore player to break out of a slump. Designated hitter Steve Pearce jolted a 3-2 pitch off reliever Jake McGee into left field to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead in the eighth, and breaking his 0 for 15 skid.

Rays first baseman James Loney tied the game at 6-6 with a solo shot in the eighth off Orioles reliever Darren O'Day.

Rays starter David Price, once again, was not as sharp as he was last season, giving up five runs on eight hits in six innings. Gonzalez also did not have his best stuff, giving up five runs on eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.

"This is not an easy team," Gonzalez said. "They were battling throughout the whole game."

Baltimore took two out of three from the Rays after losing two of three to the Yankees last weekend.

"It's a good team, no matter who they were out there starting pitching, they're going to have a good one going out there," Wieters said. "So it's nice to win the series and that's always a goal going in, to try and win the series."

Showalter added that it was a good win for the team heading into this weekend's series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We knew it was going to be a really tough challenge with Price out there," Showalter said. "There was a lot of frustration funneled in the right direction after we got down.

"I'd like for them to get a good night's sleep and feel good about themselves and we've got a challenge getting ready for the Dodgers."

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