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Tampa Bay enjoys rare rout, 10-1 over Baltimore Orioles

BALTIMORE — For Jose Lobaton, his first career homer was special. But it was not as sweet as the celebratory treat.

Lobaton said Rays DH Luke Scott promised two weeks ago to reward him with ice cream once he got the milestone hit. The 27-year-old catcher finally earned his dessert in Wednesday night's 10-1 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards, ripping a three-run shot in the fifth inning of his 59th career game.

True to his word, Scott served Lobaton a bowl with four scoops of chocolate ice cream in the dugout. It took Lobaton a full inning, with a break to play defense, to finish it all.

"That was delicious," Lobaton said, smiling. "At that moment, I was so happy. I'll remember my first home run my entire life."

It was one of three homers hit by the resurgent Rays (51-47), who scored more than they had in their previous four games combined (nine) and three shy of their season high (13, against Miami on June 9).

Desmond Jennings hit the first pitch of the game into the leftfield seats, and third baseman Ryan Roberts, in his first official at-bat as a Ray, came through with a two-run homer in the third inning.

Roberts, 31, acquired Tuesday from the Diamondbacks, said it was a "crazy" 24 hours filled with mixed emotions for what he hopes is a "new beginning." After a cross-country flight, Roberts arrived in the Rays clubhouse at 5 p.m., introduced himself to his new teammates and then endeared himself to them by reaching base three times.

"I just wanted to come over and blend in," Roberts said. "And do my part."

And it was more than enough for All-Star left-hander David Price, who picked up his major-league-leading 14th victory of the season. In doing so, he became the first Ray to lead the majors in wins after the first month of the season. Price allowed one run, scattering seven hits over seven innings while striking out 10 and walking none to win his sixth straight decision.

"He was very sharp," manager Joe Maddon said. "He had everything going on."

Price has said the Rays always seem to play well on days he pitches, and he was given a five-run lead before he took the mound.

"Our offense has done phenomenal for me all year," Price said. "And we played great defense. It's good for me, and grows my confidence every time out. It makes it a lot easier."

Maddon has seen Lobaton's confidence rise, pointing out that he had to wait a while to get to this point; the Venezuelan logged nine minor-league seasons before making his debut last year. Lobaton reached base five times Wednesday, including getting hit by two pitches.

"He finally thinks he belongs here," Maddon said.

Whether an ice cream break belongs in the dugout is up for debate, but Maddon said it was just fine with him.

"It's okay to deliver the ice cream, it's kind of different when the guy actually eats it," Maddon said with a chuckle. "But there's no doubt in my mind Lobaton would eat a cup of ice cream if it was presented to him at any time of the day, especially following his first big-league home run."

Tampa Bay enjoys rare rout, 10-1 over Baltimore Orioles 07/25/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 26, 2012 11:11am]
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