BALTIMORE (AP) — All the elements that usually make a baseball game unremarkable were right there: miserable weather, a tiny crowd and a week night in April.
Because the Baltimore Orioles excelled in such conditions, manager Buck Showalter relished his team’s 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.
Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning after Hyun Soo Kim and Jonathan Schoop went deep in the sixth, rallying Baltimore at cold, damp Camden Yards.
Coming off an intense three-game series against the Red Sox that drew huge crowds to the same stadium, the Orioles performed before 11,142 hearty fans, most of whom didn’t make a whole lot of noise until Kim and Schoop got Baltimore’s offense going.
“That’s one of our best wins this year,” Showalter said. “Tough series over the weekend, you come here tonight and you know it’s going to be cold and nasty. A lot of (fans) probably look at the weather and not come. We were going to have to really be ready to play and our guys were. I was really proud of them tonight. That’s a tough game to win and our guys figured out a way. That was impressive.”
All three home runs were off Chris Archer (2-1), who gave up five runs, six hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t allow a long ball in his previous four starts this season.
“There was a few pitches I wish I could have back,” Archer said. “That’s baseball. Going into my next start, I plan on executing at a higher level. Even if it is just three or four pitches I have to execute, it has to be done.”
Baltimore trailed 3-1 before Kim and Schoop connected on successive pitches. In the seventh, Archer hit Seth Smith with a pitch, and Jones followed with a drive deep into the left-field seats.
In rain or sunshine, Jones insists it’s all the same.
“The rule of thumb in the big leagues is it’s 75 and sunny every day,” he said.
It was the fifth win in seven games for the Orioles, whose 13-5 record is best in the American League.
Corey Dickerson homered for the Rays, who fell to 1-7 on the road. For Tampa Bay, playing in the rain was not much fun at all.
“Long day at the ballpark with the rain, and then no rain,” manager Kevin Cash said.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs, three hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings. After he gave up four walks and a double in the fourth, Vidal Nuno entered with the bases loaded and struck out Dickerson and Kevin Kiermaier.
Mychal Givens (3-0) followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Brad Brach worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Tampa Bay reliever Chih-Wei Hu made his major league debut in the ninth inning, getting three straight outs. Recalled from Triple-A Durham on Sunday, the right-hander is the first Taiwan-born player in Rays history.
Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. received an exciting present for his 28th birthday Monday: He was selected the AL Player of the Week. Souza batted .414 with three home runs and nine RBIs.
Rays: Kiermaier was in the starting lineup after being hampered by an illness over the weekend. “I’m still not where I want to be, but definitely on the right track,” he said.
Orioles: Closer Zach Britton (left forearm strain) played catch from about 90 feet on Monday before his scheduled appointment with a hand specialist. If all goes well, the left-hander will have a full side session on Wednesday, Showalter said. … OF Joey Rickard (sprained finger) went 1 for 4 in his rehabilitation stint with Class A Delmarva on Monday.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 3.07 ERA) makes his second start since April 2016 after beating Detroit last Thursday. In 29 starts with the Rays, he’s lost once when receiving at least two runs of support.
Orioles: LHP Wade Miley (1-0, 1.87 ERA) seeks an encore for his 11-strikeout performance in Cincinnati last week.