FRED GOODALL, AP Sports Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Chris Davis homered for the third straight day and drove in four runs Thursday to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Davis went 7 of 11 with three homers, three doubles and a major league-leading 11 RBIs in helping the Orioles win two of three games in the season-opening series. He drove in four for the second day in a row, hitting a two-run homer in the second inning and a two-run double that broke a 2-2 tie against Roberto Hernandez (0-1) in the sixth.
Adam Jones had three more hits, giving him seven in a series that saw the three-four-five spots in Baltimore’s lineup go 17 for 37 with four homers, six doubles, 13 runs scored and 15 RBIs.
Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits over 6 1/3 innings. The Orioles’ bullpen protected the lead, with Jim Johnson entering in the ninth to earn his second save after Brian Matusz allowed two runners to reach base.
Evan Longoria trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 6-3 with a long flyball that went off the wall in left-centerfield. But a potential big inning fizzled when the three-time All-Star was called out for passing Ben Zobrist on the bases as he headed into second for what would have been a double.
Zobrist, who had been holding up to see if the ball was caught, proceeded to third, where he was stranded.
The victory may have come at a price for the Orioles.
Second baseman Brian Roberts singled in the ninth and appeared to injure his right leg sliding into second base on a steal. He was helped off the field, and there was no immediate announcement on the nature or severity of the injury.
Hernandez, the 32-year-old right-hander formerly known as Fausto Carmona, made his first start for Tampa Bay — ending a stretch of 1,060 consecutive games by the Rays without using a starting pitcher 31 years or older, a streak that began in June 2006. All but 34 of those games during the streak were started by a pitcher under the age of 30, the exception being James Shields’ 33 starts in 2012 and one by Jae Seo on the right-hander’s 30th birthday in 2007.
Davis hit a three-run homer in Baltimore’s 7-4 victory on opening day, then had another three-run homer and drove in four runs in an 8-7 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. The first baseman has homered in nine of his last 10 regular-season games and has gone deep in five of his last six at Tropicana Field.
Gonzalez held the Rays hitless until fifth, when Tampa Bay scored twice even though none of the four groundball singles they strung together in the inning were struck well.
James Loney drove in the first run off Gonzalez with a single to center and Jose Molina made it 2-2 with a single to almost the same spot.
The Orioles answered quickly.
Nick Markakis drew a one-out walk, Adam Jones singled for his third hit of the day, and Davis lined his two-run double into the gap in left-center field for a 4-2 lead. J.J. Hardy’s two-run homer off Cesar Ramos made it 6-2 in the eighth.
Hernandez, who hit Davis with a pitch in the fourth, allowed four runs, six hits, two walks and struck out seven over 6 2-3 innings.
Notes: The start by Hernandez also stopped two other long streaks by the Rays — 1,207 consecutive games without using a starting pitcher signed as a free agent and 1,693 games without using a starting pitcher signed as a major league free agent. … Orioles DH Wilson Betemit, who sprained a right knee ligament during an exhibition game on Mar. 25, underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery Wednesday. He could return in six to eight weeks. … Baltimore RHP Steve Johnson (strained right lat) has started a long throwing program. … Baltimore is still planning to activate RHP Chris Tillman (strained left abdominal muscle) from the 15-day DL to start Saturday’s game against Minnesota. … Orioles RHP prospect, Dylan Bundy, will start the season on the seven-day DL at Double-A Bowie because of right forearm tightness. … The Orioles claimed RHP Josh Stinson on waivers from Oakland and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.