ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles have a lead for the first time since the top of the seventh inning Friday night.
Continue to breathe normally.
Chris Davis belted a two-run homer off the batter’s eye in center field - naturally going to the deepest part of the ballpark - to wipe out Tampa Bay’s 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. He increased his team-record single-season home run total to 52 and upped his RBI total to 136.
The Orioles lead the majors with 201 homers, but Davis produced the first of this series. They’re 65-54 when they homer.
They didn’t have a hit off Rays starter Chris Archer until Manny Machado singled to left field leading off the fourth. Davis took a 94 mph fastball for ball one and crushed an 84 mph slider, pausing after making contact to admire its flight.
The Orioles have scored four runs in their last 33 innings. They’ve tallied runs in six of the 40 innings in this series, twice producing multiple runs.
Nick Markakis singled with one out for the Orioles third hit of the day, one more than the Rays have mustered against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
Chen has thrown 60 pitches in three innings, allowing one run, walking two batters and striking out three.
Instant update: J.J. Hardy singled with two outs to score Markakis and increase the lead to 3-1 in the fourth.
Nate McLouth walked to bring Hardy to the plate, and the shortstop delivered his 74th RBI.
Archer threw 37 pitches in the inning, as the Orioles collected three runs, four hits and a walk.
Update II: Chen gave up a run and three hits in the bottom of the fourth, with Jose Molina’s double into left-center field reducing the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. But Brian Roberts responded with a home run leading off the top of the fifth.
Roberts has six homers and 37 RBIs this season.