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Johnson hits three-run homer as Rays top Orioles

The Canadian Press

5/17/2013 11:09:41 PM

BALTIMORE -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon wanted to stay away from overworked closer Fernando Rodney and setup man Joel Peralta.

He had to throw that idea out when the Baltimore Orioles staged a big rally, and Peralta stepped up.

The right-hander got four outs for his first save of the season and the Rays held on for a 12-10 victory over the slumping Orioles on Friday night.

"We've been blowing some games, so tonight was really special for me," Peralta said.

Kelly Johnson hit a three-run homer and an RBI single in Tampa Bay's highest scoring game of the season. Yunel Escobar had three hits and three RBIs, and Desmond Jennings added a two-run single.

The Orioles surrendered a season-high 17 hits for the second straight game and gave up their most runs in any game this season. Baltimore has allowed 27 runs and 52 hits while losing four of its last five games.

Chris Dickerson hit a three-run homer in Baltimore's six-run eighth inning, but the Orioles' rally stalled from there.

"I felt like we were going to make a run at them somewhere if we could keep them from scoring. That was our challenge tonight," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We dug ourselves a pretty big hole."

Jeremy Hellickson (2-2) was charged with eight runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings, but still managed to get the win.

Johnson drove a full-count pitch from Jason Hammel (5-2) over the wall in right in the third, capping Tampa Bay's four-run outburst with his sixth homer. Johnson singled in James Loney, Escobar doubled home a run and Jennings had his big hit in the fifth, helping the Rays open a 9-3 lead.

"We've been playing good offence up and down the lineup," Maddon said.

Hammel (5-2) allowed a season-high seven runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and two walks in his first loss since April 7. The right-hander's ERA has increased from 4.10 to 5.72 after allowing 13 runs and 18 hits over his last two starts.

"I'm missing over the plate, arm-side fastballs," Hammel said. "That's honestly about it. It's a pretty simple fix, but for right now it's seemingly difficult for me."

Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters each drove in two runs for Baltimore, which finished with 13 hits. J.J. Hardy went 2 for 3 with his eighth homer, extending his hitting streak to 12 games.

After Dickerson connected against Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth, Yamaico Navarro reached on a two-out single. Peralta came in and got Nate McLouth to fly out, then pitched a perfect ninth.

"We really should have been able to put that game away a lot better," Maddon said. "I did not want to have to get Joel or Fernando up tonight. That was the concern."

Tampa Bay had lost two in a row after winning six straight games. Rodney blew a save opportunity when he was charged with three runs in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

NOTES: Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria went 2 for 3 while extending his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Baltimore RHP Miguel Gonzalez (blister) likely will start Tuesday against the New York Yankees barring a setback, Showalter said. Placed on the 15-day DL on May 4, Gonzalez is 2-2 in six starts. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to start on Saturday, Showalter said. The former National League All-Star will face RHP Roberto Hernandez.