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Rays beat Baltimore on passed ball in the ninth

Sep 7, 2014 - 4:32 AM St. Petersburg, FL ( - Yunel Escobar scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a passed ball, as the Tampa Bay Rays claimed a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Escobar reached on an error by Baltimore shortstop Ryan Flaherty to start the ninth, took second on a bunt and advanced to third on a long fly ball to center. Brad Brach (5-1) then intentionally walked Ben Zobrist and left the mound in favor of Andrew Miller. The lefty's second pitch was slightly outside, but still got away from catcher Nick Hundley and Escobar raced home with the deciding run.

Evan Longoria and Wil Myers drove in runs for the Rays, who notched a 3-0 win Friday in the opener of the three-game series. Drew Smyly pitched six solid innings in the start, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

"My arm felt really good, everything was pretty sharp," Smyly said.

Chris Davis homered and Nelson Cruz singled in a run for Baltimore, which had swept three at home from Cincinnati before heading to Florida.

Davis hit the first pitch of the second inning into the right field seats for his 26th homer to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Smyly then yielded back-to-back singles, but retired the next three hitters to keep it a one-run game.

The Rays scored two in the third to move in front. Zobrist walked with one out, raced to third on a single by David DeJesus and scored on Longoria's long fly ball to center field. James Loney kept the inning alive with a base hit to left and Myers' slicing drive toward right-center field glanced off the glove of Adam Jones for a single to knock in DeJesus.

Tampa Bay left two aboard in the fourth and Baltimore threatened in the fifth with a walk and a one-out single by Nick Markakis, but Smyly made a nice running catch on Steve Pearce's foul pop and fanned Jones.

"He's a professional," Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman said of Smyly. "He's been around for a while. Seems like every hitter he gets in a hole."

Hundley greeted Joel Peralta with a single to start the seventh inning, but the right-hander struck out the next two batters before Jeff Beliveau fanned Markakis.

Baltimore then tied it in the eighth against Jake McGee. Pearce led off with a walk and pinch-runner Quintin Berry took second on an errant pick-off attempt before scoring on a single up the middle by Cruz. Davis also singled and David Lough replaced Cruz at second, but he ventured too far off the base on Delmon Young's liner to third and was easily doubled off to end the inning.

Brad Boxberger (5-1) retired the Orioles in the top of the ninth and picked up the win.

Game Notes

Gausman started for Baltimore and yielded two runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings ... Zobrist walked four times ... Hundley was 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to eight games ... Flaherty started at shortstop in place of J.J. Hardy, who sat with back spasms ... Escobar entered the game 5-for-7 lifetime against Gausman and doubled in his first at-bat before grounding out in his next two plate appearances against the right-hander ... The Orioles were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.