ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Jerry Sands picked an opportune time to hit his first home run of the season.
Sands, pinch-hitting for David DeJesus, belted a two-run homer off left-hander Brian Matusz with two outs in the eighth to give Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead.
It’s the first pinch-hit homer of Sands’ career and the second for the Rays this season.
The Orioles had tied the game in the top of the eighth, but they couldn’t score again after loading the bases with one out. The run was charged to Grant Balfour, who allowed back-to-back singles to Nick Markakis and Manny Machado.
Chris Davis drew a walk against Jake McGee to load the bases with one out and the tying run scored on Nelson Cruz’s infield hit. But J.J. Hardy struck out and pinch-hitter Steve Pearce grounded into a force.
Pearce was 1-for-2 with a home run lifetime against McGee.
Markakis passed Ken Singleton for sole possession of sixth place on the Orioles’ all-time hits list with 1,456.
Darren O’Day walked Evan Longoria to open the bottom of the eighth. Matusz entered the game with two outs and Sands changed the tone of it.
The Orioles have signed veteran left-hander Clay Rapada to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
A team official confirmed that Rapada passed his physical earlier today.
Rapada, 33, is a Virginia native who lives in Norfolk. He appeared in 32 games with the Orioles in 2011, going 2-0 with a 6.06 ERA in 16 1/3 innings.
Rapada appeared in four games with the Indians last season. He was 4-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 14 games with Triple-A Tacoma this season.
More bullpen depth.
Update: Delmon Young hit a pinch-hit homer off Juan Oviedo with one out in the ninth inning, but the Rays held on for a 5-4 victory before 10,576 at Tropicana Field.
Young has three home runs this season.
The Orioles have lost two straight and are 35-34 this season and 13-11 in one-run games. They’re 5-1 versus the Rays.