- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

BALTIMORE (AP) - James Shields pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, Evan Longoria hit his major league-leading fifth home run and the Tampa Bay Rays averted a three-game sweep by beating the Baltimore Orioles 11-3 Sunday.

Longoria went 3-for-5 to up his batting average to .481. He has five straight multihit games and at least one RBI in five of his six starts.

Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett and Carlos Pena also homered for the Rays, who got 17 hits. All four home runs came off Brian Bass, who allowed seven runs in 3 1-3 innings of relief.

Tampa Bay went 3-3 on its first road trip. The defending AL champions play their home opener Monday night against the New York Yankees.

Shields (1-1) struck out three and walked one. It was a solid bounce-back performance for the right-hander, who gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in Tampa Bay’s season-opening 5-3 loss to Boston.

Dan Wheeler allowed one hit in the eighth before Grant Balfour was tagged for three runs in the ninth.

Luke Scott and Felix Pie had the lone RBIs for the Orioles, who take to the road after going 4-2 against the Yankees and Rays. Baltimore’s two defeats are by a combined 22-5 score.

Added to the 25-man roster before the game, Adam Eaton (0-1) allowed four runs and eight hits over four innings in his debut with Baltimore. Ten of the 21 batters he faced reached base, two on walks.

The current group of Rays were a collective 0-for-24 lifetime against Eaton coming in, but Akinori Iwamura gave an indication of things to come by opening the game with the first of his three hits. Tampa Bay got runners on second and third before Eaton escaped.

The right-hander was not as fortunate in the second inning. The Rays loaded the bases with one out before Eaton struck out Iwamura, but Carl Crawford followed with a triple and scored on a double by Longoria.

Eaton averted another jam in the fourth when Adam Jones threw out Gabe Gross at home after fielding a single to center by Crawford. Gross got a late start and couldn’t get around catcher Chad Moeller, who blocked the plate. Moeller initially missed the tag, but applied it to Gross before he could scramble back to home.

Tampa Bay pulled away with a four-run fifth against Bass, the key blow a three-run shot by Zobrist.

Bartlett homered in the seventh, his third hit of the game, and Longoria and Pena connected in succession in the eighth.

Notes:@ Bass tied an Orioles record for homers allowed by a reliever. … Tampa Bay went 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-11 Saturday night.

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