Orioles blow late lead but rally to top Rays, 9-8

Drese allows 6 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings; Green hits 2-run single in ninth

March 20, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Orioles starter Brad Bergesen got pretty much what he was looking for with a decent five-inning outing against a solid Tampa Bay Rays lineup.

Ryan Drese, a veteran competing for the Orioles' fifth starter spot, did not.

Drese allowed six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings as the Orioles blew a five-run seventh-inning lead before reclaiming the advantage in the ninth inning on their way to a 9-8 win in front of an announced 6,061 at sun-drenched Charlotte Sports Park.

Nick Green hit a two-out, two-run single to center field off Mike Ekstrom, scoring pinch runner Kyle Hudson and Xavier Avery, who had singled. Mike Ballard pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, to earn the victory. The Orioles (10-11-2) broke a two-game losing streak in Grapefruit League games and won for just the second time in their past six games.

They appeared well on their way to a comfortable victory with a 7-2 lead in the seventh. However, the Rays scored six times in the inning off Drese, with the big blow coming on Justin Ruggiano's go-ahead three-run homer. Drese allowed six hits and a walk while getting just five outs as his spring ERA ballooned to 9.26.

Bergesen, who had given up nine earned runs in his previous 9 2/3 innings this spring, was much better, surrendering two earned runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings.

Bergesen allowed a run in the third on Ben Zobrist's two-out RBI triple and a run in the fourth on B.J. Upton's two-out RBI single. He ended his outing by retiring Manny Ramirez on a long flyout with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth.

Leadoff man Brian Roberts had a rather uneventful day in his return to the Orioles' lineup, going 0-for-2 with a walk. However, the middle-of-the-order hitters behind him picked up the slack.

Adam Jones went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Nick Markakis went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, and Luke Scott and Mark Reynolds each had two hits.

Rays starter Jeff Niemann allowed four earned runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

Because of an editing mistake, an earlier version of this article said Orioles pitcher Mike Ballard earned the save. He earned the victory.

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