O's offense breaks out at right time vs. Rays

O's offense breaks out at right time vs. Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Davis gave the struggling Orioles offense a huge lift on Saturday evening, connecting for a third-inning grand slam that helped the O's snap a four-game skid with a 5-1 win over the Rays.

The inning got started with a leadoff single from J.J. Hardy and, one out later, Jonathan Schoop and David Lough each got hits to load the bases. Davis then sent Erasmo Ramirez's full-count pitch into right-center field for his fifth career grand slam, staking the O's to an early 4-0 lead.

"It is [a relief]," Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez said of the team's struggling lineup getting up early. "Having him to come up in that situation is really huge. Even though Ramirez threw really well after that and settled down we were able to win this ballgame, and it was really important for us."

Davis, who has a team-leading 22 homers, has 60 RBIs on the year. He's got 29 RBIs in in 30 career games at Tropicana Field, his most in any opposing ballpark, and acknowledged that Saturday's were particularly important.

"I think it gives you a little bit of breathing room and allows the pitching staff and the defense to go out and relax a little bit," he said. "Obviously, when you score you want to keep scoring and you don't want to stop or slow down, but I think we did a great job tonight of having good at bats, making them work and taking advantage of opportunities to score."

Saturday's win, which included Lough's triple and run scored in the eighth, marked just the second time in the last 14 games the Orioles have scored more than four runs. It also marked only the third time in July the O's have scored five or more runs.

"We grouped some hits together and you get a big blow," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You're not going get many opportunities [with] as good a pitching staff as they have. [Ramirez] pitched real well against us last time and really did again today-except for that inning."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.