ST. PETERSBURG -- One pitch did in the Rays Wednesday night.
Jonathan Schoop re-routed an 0-2 fastball from Brandon Gomes into the left-field stands and that proved to be the difference in the Orioles' 4-3 win over the Rays on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
The Rays remain in last place in the American League East while dropping the three-game series to the Orioles with the third game to be played Thursday night. Wednesday night's outcome handed the Rays their first one-run loss of the season and they have now lost their last four games at Tropicana Field.
Gomes got ahead 0-2 in the count, leaving him one pitch away from a scoreless seventh, but he could not slip a 90-mph fastball past Schoop. The Orioles' second baseman connected, depositing the ball into the left-field stands for a two-run homer and the lead.
"The pitch sequence and all that was exactly what I wanted to do," Gomes said. "I executed everything I wanted to all night and that pitch wasn't in or up quite enough. He did a nice job of pulling his hands in to get to it and hit it out of the park, so I have to tip my cap to him. One mistake and in this division, that's it, it's a game of inches."
Schoop had been in the midst of a 2-for-17 slump prior to the at-bat.
"It's really nice, especially to come through there and especially to get a 'W'," Schoop said. "That's all this game is about, you know, win. I am really happy especially when we finish and get a 'W' … the guy came with a fastball and I just reacted."
Prior to Schoop's blast, Adam Jones accounted for all of the Orioles' offense with a pair first-pitch homers to center field off Rays starter Cesar Ramos to start the Orioles' second and fourth innings.
Ramos identified the pitches as fastballs, adding, "Jones definitely didn't miss them."
"You look at the replays, they were almost identical pitches," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "... both were in the same spot. It's unusual."
The Rays played superlative defense, particularly the keystone combo of shortstop Yunel Escobar and Ben Zobrist, who put on a show when combining on dazzling double-plays in the first and third innings to help Ramos' cause.
Ramos allowed two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings as manager Joe Maddon lifted him when Jones batted with two outs in the sixth. Gomes took over and retired Jones on a flyout to right field to end the inning.
Despite the two blemishes to his line by Jones' bat, Ramos had his best outing since joining the rotation earlier this season. And particularly given the fact he went against a primarily right-handed lineup. He credited the use of his two-seamer for his success.
"I was able to keep it down and using my changeup, too, with an aggressive team and get them in that swing mode," Ramos said. "Like I said, the two fastballs I left down the middle, Jones definitely didn't miss them."
David DeJesus homered off Orioles starter Bud Norris in the fifth and Sean Rodriguez added an RBI single with two outs in the sixth to tie the score at 2.
The Rays didn't go down easily in the ninth. Trailing, 4-2, Wil Myers doubled to center off Tommy Hunter to start the inning. One out later, Escobar singled to center to put runners at the corners. Ryan Hanigan followed with a single to right to cut the lead to one run.
Desmond Jennings hit the ball hard with two outs and the tying run standing on third, but his line drive found Hunter's glove for the final out of the game, earning the Orioles' closer his American League-leading 10th save of the season.
Maddon noted that he took two things away from Wednesday night's loss.
Ramos "did really well, obviously," Maddon said. "And then I loved the fight once again. [Tuesday] night we had a chance to win it in the ninth inning. We had another chance to win it in the ninth inning today. So I love that part of our group that there's no quit in our group. And we'll start winning some of those games, too."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.