Orioles double-up D-Rays

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Kris Benson took a four-hitter into the eighth inning for his first win with the Baltimore Orioles and Melvin Mora homered in an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Benson (1-1) gave up two runs and five hits in seven-plus innings. He departed after allowing Joey Gathright’s leadoff single in the eighth.

The right-hander, acquired from the New York Mets in January for pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine, lost his first start on April 6 despite yielding only two runs over seven innings in a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

Chris Ray struck out pinch-hitter Jorge Cantu with two on for his third save.

David Newhan, Miguel Tejada and Brian Roberts had two RBIs each for Baltimore, which has won two in a row after a four-game losing streak.

The Devil Rays got a home run from Ty Wigginton. Tampa Bay has lost its first two home games after going 3-3 during a season-opening road trip to Baltimore and Toronto.

Tampa Bay third baseman Aubrey Huff left in the fourth with a left knee strain after he and shortstop Nick Green bumped into each other in front of the bullpen on Mora’s foul popup. Huff, who was able to walk off the field, is scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday.

Devil Rays starter Jason Hammel (0-1) retired his first two batters in his major league debut before Mora put the Orioles up 1-0 with his home run. All three of his homers this season have come against Tampa Bay.

The Devil Rays tied it on Wigginton’s shot in the second. Russell Branyan had a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.

Newhan hit an RBI infield single and Tejada drove in two with a double as Baltimore took a 4-1 lead in the third.

Roberts had a two-run double and Newhan picked up another run-scoring single in a three-run fourth that made it 7-1. Javy Lopez extended the advantage to 8-2 on an eighth-inning RBI single.

Hammel gave up seven runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. He pitched in place of Mark Hendrickson, sidelined by left shoulder stiffness. The Devil Rays hope he will miss only two starts.

Tampa Bay scored twice in the ninth off Jim Brower.

Notes: One day after the Devil Rays drew 40,199 for their home opener – the fourth sellout in team history – the crowd was 12,600. … Cantu (bruised left foot) was out of the starting lineup for fourth straight game. … Hammel was recalled from Triple-A Durham after Hendrickson was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

AP-ES-04-11-06 2209EDT

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