ST. PETERSBURG -- Led by Chris Davis' three RBIs, the Orioles scored seven unanswered runs to rally past the Rays on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field. The 7-3 win helped the O's, who are tied with the Tigers for the second American League Wild Card spot, close to within two games of the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East and one game of the Red Sox for the top Wild Card spot.
Tampa Bay scored three first-inning runs off Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez, all of which came on Logan Morrison's homer. Jimenez didn't allow another score from there, retiring the final 17 he faced while becoming the first Oriole starter to pitch into the ninth this season in a complete-game effort. It marked Jimenez's first complete game since June 1, 2011.
"That was awesome," Davis said of Jimenez's effort. "I was pretty fired up to see him go back out there for the ninth and get through the whole game. I think early on in the game he ran into a little bit of trouble, obviously, but he was able to hang in there and keep going, and that's kind of the attitude of this team."
Davis homered, his 34th of the year, in the fourth inning off Rays starter Matt Andriese. He knocked in a pair of two-out runs in the fifth inning to give Baltimore the lead. The O's scored five in the fifth to extend their lead and chase Andriese from the game.
"Started out really good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "LoMo gets the big three-run homer to give us a lead. We gave two back and, unfortunately, Matt Andriese was one pitch away from getting out of that inning. And then it just snowballed. Davis jumped on a fastball and five runs came in. Not the way you draw it up. Frustrating, disappointing loss."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED LoMo goes deep: The Rays shuffled around the lineup, moving first baseman Brad Miller to shortstop so they could rest regular shortstop Matt Duffy and put Morrison at first. That enabled the left-handed hitter to face right-hander Jimenez. The move paid off in the first when Morrison hit his 13th homer of the season on a full count with two outs to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
"Changeup, it was up a little bit," Morrison said when asked to identify the pitch on which he homered. "It was a good changeup because you can't really see it. But he just hung mine a little bit."
Ubie goes the distance: Jimenez, taken out of the rotation earlier this year for poor performance, has thrived in the wake of Chris Tillman's injury. The righty held the Rays hitless after Morrison's homer -- giving up just one walk -- and was dominant every step of the way after the blast.
"Probably in the seventh inning I looked up and I only had about 80 pitches, so I knew I had a chance," Jimenez said of his ninth career complete game. "I just needed another quick inning and I knew I'd have another chance to go out there." More >
Clutch Davis: After going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Sunday, Davis ensured the O's wouldn't suffer a similar fate. His two-out, two-run single gave the Orioles a lead they would never relinquish.
"That's something to where, in games toward the end of the year, it's probably more momentum than anything else," catcher Matt Wieters of Davis' single, which started a stretch of five two-out runs. "Chris gets a big hit there and we are able to kind of break it open from there."
Gamboa strong:Eddie Gamboa made his second Major League appearance on Monday and performed better than his big league debut on Friday, when he recorded just one out while allowing three baserunners against the Blue Jays. Against the Orioles, the organization to which the knuckleballer once belonged, he pitched three scoreless innings.
"Eddie Gamboa came in and threw the ball really well," Cash said. "It was nice to see after his first outing. We kind of figured after he got a little more comfort and the nerves went away a little bit more, he was going to throw a good outing, and he really did."
Added Gamboa: "Definitely [felt more relaxed]. Personally, it did feel good to contribute to the team."
"I feel like he was effectively wild. ... I think overall we have to do a better job of getting the ball in the zone and barreling him up. There's no reason that he should have thrown a complete game against us today. I didn't think he was that good. He was good, but he wasn't that good. We got ourselves out a lot." -- Morrison, on Jimenez
"He's mature enough to know there's going to be another opportunity when we talked originally. He used the time wisely and got himself ready when the opportunity presented itself. I don't think there's anybody on the team that our guys pull for more -- just because the way he conducts himself through adversity. And everybody has it in there." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Jimenez taking advantage of his return to the rotation
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Orioles' last complete game came courtesy of Miguel Gonzalez on Sept. 3, 2014.
When Gamboa threw over to first to try and pick off Drew Stubbs in the seventh, the play looked close but the Orioles pinch-runner was called safe. The Rays challenged, and after a delay of 34 seconds, the call was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles:Yovani Gallardo will take the mound for Tuesday's game against the Rays at 7:10 p.m. ET. Despite allowing three runs in the first inning his last time out, Gallardo still managed to notch a quality start. His first year with the Orioles hasn't gone well, though, as his ERA sits at 5.62 through 19 starts.
Rays:Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.56 ERA) has been the Rays' best starter since the All-Star break. He leads the American League with a 1.89 ERA and he's 6-0 with a 1.09 WHIP, compared to 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA and 1.27 WHIP during the first half. He is 3-3 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Orioles.