The Tampa Bay Rays talked all spring about trying to recapture the magic of their World Series run two years ago, an improbable journey that included late-inning rallies and memorable wins.
Kind of like last night, when Carl Crawford doubled in the ninth inning to drive in two runs for a 4-3 season-opening victory over the Baltimore Orioles in St. Petersburg.
“That was definitely like ’08. We did that a lot,’’ Crawford said. “It’s good to get that feeling back . . . Hopefully we can ride the wave and get something going.’’
Adam Jones, Luke Scott, and Matt Wieters homered for the Orioles.
Evan Longoria homered in the sixth for the Rays, who loaded the bases in the ninth against new Orioles closer Michael Gonzalez with a single, pinch-hit double, and an intentional walk. Crawford lined a 1-0 pitch into right field, driving in the tying and go-ahead runs before a sellout crowd of 36,973 at Tropicana Field.
Rafael Soriano (1-0) got the win, despite struggling to get through the ninth in his debut for Tampa Bay. The former Atlanta closer escaped a bases-loaded jam when Miguel Tejada hit a hard line drive to Crawford in left.
Orioles starter Kevin Millwood allowed two runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. The righthander was two outs away from getting the win before Gonzalez (0-1) gave up a one-out single to Sean Rodriguez and pinch-hit double to Kelly Shoppach to start the winning rally.
Twins 5, Angels 3 — Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and J.J. Hardy each homered off Joe Saunders, leading Minnesota at Anaheim, Calif.
Nick Blackburn (1-0) returned to the site of his first big league start and allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Blackburn threw 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.
Jon Rauch made his season debut with a perfect ninth inning to earn his first AL save. The 6-foot-11-inch righthander was assigned the closer’s role by manager Ron Gardenhire because four-time All-Star Joe Nathan underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in March.
Athletics 2, Mariners 1 — Mark Ellis hit a game-ending RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning, lifting host Oakland.
Edwar Ramirez (1-0) pitched the 10th to earn his first win since Sept. 3, 2008, when he was with the Yankees.
Kanekoa Texeira (0-1) took the loss in his major league debut.
A’s starter Dallas Braden struck out a career-high 10 in seven innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk. He retired 15 of 16 during one stretch, and picked off Ichiro Suzuki in the first inning.
Padres 6, Diamondbacks 3 — Chris Young allowed one hit through six innings, Everth Cabrera drove in four runs with a triple and a double, and San Diego held on to beat host Arizona.
Young (1-0), who underwent shoulder surgery and missed the second half of last season, struck out five and walked three. The only hit he allowed was Justin Upton’s one-out single up the middle in the fourth.
Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez (3 for 4, career-high tying four RBIs) hit his second ninth-inning solo home run in two days.
Giants 3, Astros 0 — Barry Zito pitched three-hit ball over six innings and four relievers finished up the shutout for visiting San Francisco.
Zito (1-0) struck out five before he was replaced by Waldis Joaquin. Joaquin, Dan Runzler, Sergio Romo, and closer Brian Wilson combined to allow one hit in the last three innings. Wilson earned his second save.
Brewers 7, Rockies 5 — Randy Wolf’s debut for host Milwaukee was a success, Casey McGehee and Rickie Weeks homered, and the Brewers topped Colorado.
Wolf (1-0) struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings in his first start since signing a $29.75 million, three-year contract in the offseason to bolster Milwaukee’s starting staff.