Ubaldo Jimenez appeared headed toward an early shower just two outs into Monday’s game.
Then, suddenly, the Baltimore right-hander became almost unhittable.
Jimenez threw a two-hitter for his first complete game since 2011, Chris Davis homered and drove in three runs and the playoff-contending Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3.
“He kind of got rolling there,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “That was fun.”
The Orioles moved within two games of AL East-leading Toronto, which lost 5-3 to the New York Yankees.
Jimenez (6-11) struck out six and walked one. He retired 25 of 26 — the lone baserunner coming on a fourth-inning walk — after giving up Logan Morrison’s three-run homer in the first.
“It wasn’t easy,” Jimenez said after his ninth career complete game. “It’s never easy to get people out. The sinker was great, especially after the first inning. I was able to get it down.”
Jimenez’s complete game was Baltimore’s since Sept. 3, 2014, when Miguel Gonzalez went the distance against Cincinnati.
“There’s no reason that he shoots a complete game against us today,” Morrison said. “I didn’t think he was that good. He was good, but he wasn’t that good. I think we got ourselves out a lot.”
Davis hit his 34th homer, a solo shot off Matt Andriese, during a two-run fourth. Davis drove in two with a single in a five-run fifth that made it 7-3.
Rays slugger Evan Longoria left with soreness in his right hand. He was hit by a pitch in the first but remained in the game until being pulled after the fifth inning. The Rays said X-rays on Longoria’s hand were negative.
“The best news of the day was negative (X-rays),” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Frustrating, disappointing loss.”
Andriese (6-7) lost his seventh straight decision, allowing seven runs and nine hits in five innings.
Mark Trumbo had an RBI single and Jonathan Schoop, mired in an 0-for-15 slide, had a two-run single during the fifth.