Endy Chavez goes all Josh Hamilton on the Rays (O’s lead 2-1)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - OK, who had Endy Chavez in today’s home run pool?

Chavez broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with his first homer as an Oriole, lining a 2-1 pitch from Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson over the right field wall.

It was the Orioles’ first hit of the day and their first extra-base hit in three games.

J.J. Hardy followed with a double, but Chris Davis struck out.

Extra-base hits in back-to-back at-bats by the Orioles? The floodgates have opened here at Tropicana Field.

Chavez began the day hitting .121 with one RBI. He struck out in the first inning before homering for the first time since Aug. 9, 2011.

Brian Matusz hasn’t allowed a hit through the first three innings. Ben Zobrist walked with two outs in the first as Tampa Bay’s only baserunner.

Matusz has turned in three straight quality starts, though he allowed four runs (three earned) and seven hits, with three walks, over six innings in his last outing against the Royals. He’s been much sharper so far today.

Because so many people asked, Steve Tolleson ran on his own last night before being thrown out at second base and ruining Hardy’s bid for a sacrifice fly. First base coach Wayne Kirby didn’t send him.

It was a “read” play, where Tolleson starts to go and determines whether the throw’s going to second or third base and whether he can advance. Tolleson lowered his head and took off, and he made the final out before Bill Hall crossed the plate.

Update: Matusz didn’t allow a hit until Sean Rodriguez led off the fifth with a double. He had retired 10 in a row.

Now the shutout’s gone.

Rodriguez took third on a grounder and scored on another one, eluding Matt Wieters’ tag on Robert Andino’s throw. The ball beat Rodriguez, but Wieters wasn’t able to block the plate.

Matusz struck out the next two batters, leaving the score 1-1.

Update II: The Orioles scored an unearned run in the seventh inning to take a 2-1 lead.

Mark Reynolds doubled with one out, barely missing a home run. Ryan Flaherty reached with two outs on catcher’s interference, and left-hander Jake McGee replaced Jeremy Hellickson. Drew Sutton fielded Robert Andino’s bouncer and threw wide of first base, allowing Reynolds to score. Flaherty was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

Down on the farm, Dylan Bundy is making his second start today with Single-A Frederick. He’s allowed one hit, walked one and struck out five in three scoreless innings.

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