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Rays, Lobaton savor 10-1 victory over Orioles

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 09:49 PM
BALTIMORE -

All it took was a little motivation from Luke Scott.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Lobaton was told by Scott, who is on the disabled list, if he hit a home run, he would get ice cream.

Lobaton loves ice cream.

But in 177 plate appearances, including 122 this season with the Rays, he had never hit a home run.

Lobaton got to savor the frozen chocolate treat as his three-run blast in the fifth inning, the third of the game for the Rays, added to a lead and the Rays won their second consecutive game Wednesday at Camden Yards with a 10-1 win against the Orioles.

"I was talking with Luke all game and he kept telling me to try to hit (a home run)," said Lobaton, who had 50 homers in the minor leagues. "I kept telling him I didn’t want to try. … I wanted to get a base hit — my average is low."

Lobaton entered the game hitting .218 with only eight RBIs for the season.

"So Luke said if I hit a home run, I’ll get you ice cream," Lobaton said. "I said, ‘OK.’ I didn’t hit a home run for ice cream. I wanted to get a base hit, but I wanted ice cream."

After Lobaton took a fastball off reliever Matt Lindstrom, Scott made good on his promise.

And Lobaton ate it right there in the dugout.

"(Scott) came in the same inning with chocolate ice cream," Lobaton said. "I was going to enjoy it. I ate some of it then and came back and finished it the next inning."

It had been 13 games since the Rays scored as many runs as they did against the Orioles, but manager Joe Maddon began his description of the win with the effort of starting pitcher David Price.

"It starts with good pitching all the time," Maddon said of Price, who became the AL wins leader with 14 and the first Rays pitcher to lead the league in wins after the first month of the season. "(David) pitched great. He had great stuff … great command. Anytime you get a lead like that, it’s nice when your pitcher is able to keep it going for you."

Price (14-4) went seven innings, allowing only one run on seven hits. He struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter. His ERA dropped from 2.64 to 2.57, fourth best in the league.

The Rays also got home runs from Desmond Jennings and newcomer Ryan Roberts.

It didn’t take long for the Rays offense to give Price some breathing room. Jennings, batting leadoff for the second consecutive game, hit the first pitch from Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez into the left-field bleachers for a 1-0 lead.

It was Jennings’ third lead-off homer, the second this season.

"Jennings’ lead-off home run isn’t a bad thing, but to get those five runs in the first and not just leave it at 1-0, which was on the verge of happening, was big," Maddon said.

After B.J. Upton singled, Jeff Keppinger drew a two-out walk and Carlos Peña followed with a RBI single, scoring Upton.

Roberts was hit by a pitch in his first appearance with the Rays to load the bases. Lobaton also was hit by a pitch, forcing in Keppinger. Elliot Johnson, the ninth batter in the inning, singled to left, driving in Peña and Roberts but Johnson was tagged out between first and second to end the inning.

"The add-on runs in that inning were big," Maddon said.

Price had a 5-0 lead before he touched the mound.

Baltimore scored its only run in the bottom of the first when Nick Markakis led off with a single, went to second on a Price wild pitch and scored on a single by J.J. Hardy.

Price only allowed five base runners after the first inning — only one reached second base.

"At the end of the day, it’s all about starting pitching and David was really sharp — with everything," Maddon said.

This marked Price’s seventh consecutive start in which the left-hander pitched at least seven innings.

"You look at what happened bullpen-wise," Maddon said. "If it had been a different game, Price would have been back out for the eighth inning, but there was no reason to risk it. It provides the bullpen with the rest they need. J.P (Howell) did need some work so it was a good spot with three lefties in a row, so you couldn’t ask for anything better than that."

The Rays tacked on two more runs in the third inning when Roberts showed off his power with his seventh home run of the season, a bomb to left-center.

Howell gave up a single in the eighth and Burke Badenhop worked a perfect ninth.


rharmon@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7616 Twitter: @RickHTampaTrib

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