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Orioles stay undefeated with 5-3 victory over Rays; first 5-0 start since 1970

The Orioles got their first truly shaky start of the season - but it didn't matter because their offense and bullpen were good enough to overcome it in a 5-3 win over the Rays.

Some day the Orioles will lose their first game of the 2016 season. No one is going to go 162-0. Today is not the day they lose. The Orioles picked up where they left off against the Rays, staying in the win column with a 5-3 win in front of 23,101 in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.

For anyone who imagined a successful season for the O's this year, the way they won the game today is probably what you had in mind. A shaky and fairly short starting pitching performance, today delivered by Vance Worley, was papered over by a potent offense and a bullpen that, while not lights out, kept the Rays off the board. They all count just the same in the standings.

At first it looked like the Orioles might cruise through the whole game. The O's offense jumped on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi in the second inning in what turned out to be an inning of firsts. Pedro Alvarez picked up his first hit in an Orioles uniform by lining a ball more or less into the shift, only just far enough that the Rays couldn't make a good throw to first.

Kim Hyun Soo!

One batter later, Jonathan Schoop had the Orioles on the board with a double to left field, scoring from first with an assist from Rays left fielder Corey Dickerson, who duffed his attempt to pick up the ball. Then came the next first: Hyun Soo Kim, in the starting lineup for the first time, chopped a ball onto the ground but just out of the reach of Odorizzi.

Kim busted down the line for an infield single. Not bad to start a career after his 0-23 struggle in spring training. It was one of two infield hits for Kim on the day. They all look like line drives in the box score.

The O's quickly added their second run when early season legend Joey Rickard, who led off back in the first inning with a single, drove a fly ball deep enough to score Schoop on a sacrifice fly. That 2-0 lead lasted only until the next batter, Manny Machado, took advantage of an Odorizzi mistake and walloped the ball into the left field seats for his third home run of the 2016 campaign.

After that, Odorizzi settled down, finishing six innings in all without allowing any more runs. But, when you give up four in six innings, that's not a good day.

All I thought about was try not to get booed any more.-Hyun Soo Kim after the game

Worley more or less cruised through the first time through the order, working throughout the strike zone with a variety of pitches that all had a good amount of movement. That lasted about until Worley gave up a fourth inning solo home run to Dickerson, which put the Rays on the board. At this point, Worley seemed to become afraid of throwing strikes and he took to nibbling, which did not do him any favors.

Whether he was done in by that skittishness or merely the inevitable force that is the times through the order penalty, what's certain is that Worley's success ground to a halt in the fifth inning as he faced the top of the Rays lineup a third time.

A single, groundout, single sequence plated the second Rays run and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Dickerson. Worley almost got out of it - Dickerson chopped a ball down the first base line and was thrown out, but it turned out the reason for the chopper was that his swing caught Matt Wieters' glove behind the plate. Instead of being out, Dickerson reached on catcher's interference and the inning continued, with recent friend Steve Pearce coming up to the plate for the Rays.

Of course Pearce got a hit against his former team, driving home Evan Longoria with a single to right. The Rays had pulled the score back to 4-3, a one run game, and Worley's day was done one out short of qualifying for a win. Brad Brach escaped the jam before pitching an uneventful sixth inning.

It was only one start, so we shouldn't draw grand pronouncements from how Worley did. Still, it's telling that he ran into trouble the second and third time through the order. Maybe he's a guy who is best suited for long relief after all. On the other hand, maybe the fact that he wasn't fully stretched out to be a starting pitcher in spring training had some impact on his performance as his body got tired later on.

Surprising heartburn from the O's pen

Most people would agree that the back end of the Orioles bullpen is good, which does not mean that every game will go smoothly even when that unit allows no runs. Mychal Givens, who gave up three runs in his first two appearances, was tasked with the seventh inning.

The leadoff walk to Logan Forsythe was not inspiring - but, Givens quickly righted the ship, striking out the next two batters he faced. Wieters helped him on the way by throwing out Forsythe as he attempted to steal second base. Do not run on Matt Wieters.

As it ended up, the eighth inning was just as much of a nail-biter, though Darren O'Day lulled us at first into thinking it would be easy with two quick outs. That was before he gave up a double to Brad Miller - the shortstop's first hit of the year - that was just off the top of the wall, nearly a home run. O'Day walked the next two batters, loading the bases to pinch hitter Hank Conger. In the end, O'Day made Conger look foolish with a wild swing on a pitch low and way inside. The threat was over.

With how the last two innings had gone, the O's scratching out an insurance run in the ninth inning was nice. Machado led off with a double, his fourth hit of the day. He moved up on a Chris Davis groundout, though as the Rays drew the infield in, Machado couldn't score on a Mark Trumbo groundout immediately after.

Machado was, however, able to race home with Wieters at the plate when Erasmo Ramirez uncorked a wild pitch. As he first slid, nearly taking out the plate umpire, Machado missed home plate. Luckily, the Rays never noticed, and Wieters casually suggested Manny touch home.

That set up the 5-3 score that would go final three outs later. Zach Britton did not follow up on Givens's or O'Day's drama with drama of his own. He set the top of the Rays lineup down 1-2-3 in the ninth, easy as you please, sealing the Orioles first 5-0 start since the 1970 World Series winning season. It is impossible to be better than 5-0 through five games. They are the only remaining undefeated team in MLB.

The O's will put that undefeated record on the line tomorrow against the Boston Red Sox in the home opener at Fenway Park. David Price is scheduled to start the 2:05 game for Boston, with Yovani Gallardo making his second start of the year for the O's.