Orioles end 12-game skid against Rays

BY foxsports • April 11, 2009

The Baltimore Orioles lost so many times to Tampa Bay last year, they apparently tried to purge the memory.

So, after the Orioles beat the Rays 5-4 Friday night to end a 12-game skid against the defending AL champions, no one in the Baltimore clubhouse celebrated the occasion.

"It's 2009, so you put 2008 to bed and you put that streak to bed," manager Dave Trembley said. "I dare say that I didn't even think about it."

George Sherrill, who worked the ninth to earn his second save, said, "I didn't know the numbers; that's something we try to stay away from because it will sway you one way or the other. It was a good win and one that we needed."

Melvin Mora drove in three runs, Mark Hendrickson won in his Baltimore debut and the Orioles ended a run of futility against the Rays thanks to an 11-hit attack.

Baltimore went 3-15 against Tampa Bay last year, 0-12 after April 29. But now the Orioles are 1-0 against their AL East rivals and 3-1 overall after opening the season by winning two of three from the New York Yankees.

"It was fun," said Hendrickson, who allowed one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. "We're playing all facets of the game well and it showed tonight."

Evan Longoria hit two homers and drove in three runs for Tampa Bay. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has four home runs and at least one RBI in all four of the Rays' games this season.

Dioner Navarro also homered for Tampa Bay, but that was the extent of the Rays' offense.

"We're still relying on the home run right now to score our points," manager Joe Maddon said. "We've got to do a little bit better job of (using) the base hit."

Signed as a free agent during the offseason, Hendrickson (1-0) struck out two and walked two.

"I told Dave when he came out that's pretty much all I had for him tonight," said the left-hander, who pitched for Tampa Bay from 2004-06. "It's part of the process early in the year."

Said Trembley: "He gave us everything he had and we're real proud of him. He did a tremendous, tremendous job."

Sherrill, the third Baltimore reliever, struck out the side in the ninth but gave up a solo homer to Navarro, who ended an 0-for-11 skid to start the season.

Tampa Bay starter Andy Sonnanstine (0-1) allowed five runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. He is 2-3 with a 7.11 ERA in six career starts against Baltimore.

"I didn't feel very sharp. I don't know, it wasn't there," Sonnanstine said. "I just didn't feel in sync with my body."

The Orioles used a three-run fifth inning to go up 5-1. Sonnanstine retired the first two batters before Adam Jones doubled and scored on a soft single to center by Nick Markakis. After Aubrey Huff reached on an infield hit, Mora singled in a run and Huff came home on a wild pitch.

Sonnanstine then issued an intentional walk to Luke Scott before Lance Cormier, who played with Baltimore last year, struck out Ryan Freel.

After Hendrickson gave up a one-out single to Carlos Pena in the sixth, Danys Baez struck out the first four batters he faced in 1 2-3 innings of flawless relief.

Jim Johnson gave up a two-run shot to Longoria in the eighth, the first homer he's allowed since July 29, 2006.

Longoria homered in the first inning after Carl Crawford was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double. In the bottom half, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out before Mora grounded a two-run single up the middle.

Hendrickson worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second by retiring Jason Bartlett on a comebacker.

Tampa Bay missed another scoring opportunity in the fourth on a baserunning error by Gabe Kapler, who overran third base and got caught in a rundown on a two-out infield hit by Ben Zobrist.

"I looked down and touched the base and assumed he was out at first," Kapler said. "It's unacceptable. It's inexcusable and completely my responsibility."


The top three batters in Baltimore's lineup - Brian Roberts, Jones and Markakis - are batting a collective .432 (19-for-44) with 10 RBIs and 15 runs. ... The Rays' six-game winning streak in Baltimore ended. ... Orioles relievers have allowed five homers in four games.

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