O’s seventh-inning explosion produces win over Tampa Bay in season opener

With one big swing in the first inning and two huge swings in the seventh, the Orioles beat Tampa Bay 7-4 today to win their opener for the 10th time in the last 13 years.

Last season, the Orioles scored six runs total in their last four games at Tropicana Field.

Jason Hammel had allowed just one run on 56 pitches through five innings until Tampa Bay scored twice in the sixth to take a short-lived 3-2 lead.

The Orioles then quickly exploded for five runs in the seventh against lefty Jake McGee, a pitcher who had an ERA of 1.95 and allowed just 13 runs all last season over 55 1/3 innings.

With one out, Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis singled. After McGee fanned Manny Machado, Adam Jones ripped a two-run double to left center for a 4-3 lead. The Orioles were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position to that point.

After an intentional walk to Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, who hit 33 homers last year, crushed a McGee pitch to right for a three-run shot and 7-3 lead.

Two swings, five runs. Nice answer after falling behind for the first time in the game.

Wieters gave the Orioles the lead in the first with a two-run homer off David Price. The Orioles lineup today had no homers in 148 career at-bats versus Price entering the contest. Wieters has 11 homers against Tampa Bay, his most against any club.

The seventh-inning uprising made a winner of Hammel, who allowed three hits and three runs over six innings, throwing 75 pitches. Hammel went 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in five starts last April. When Tampa Bay cut the deficit to three runs by scoring once in the eighth, that made it officially a save situation and Jim Johnson pitched the ninth to get one.

The Orioles’ 3-4-5 hitters - Jones, Wieters and Davis - went 6-for-12 this afternoon with three doubles, two homers, five runs and seven RBIs. Wonder what they have in store for tomorrow?

In game two of the season and this series Wednesday night, Wei-Yin Chen starts for the Orioles against Tampa Bay right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.

Even though he was in line for a win when he left the game, the Orioles beat the Rays on a day they started the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner and Baltimore’s 2013 season is off to a winning start.

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