Kevin Kiermaier had two weak outs and fell behind 0-2 on his third at-bat against Ubaldo Jimenez.
One swing then changed everything.
Kiermaier hit a two-run homer and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Tuesday night.
"I had some frustrating at-bats earlier in the game, I think a lot of us did," Kiermaier said. "For me to hit a pitch out right there was big for our team. This is a crazy game. That's why we play nine innings."
After Steven Souza Jr. had a two-out single in the sixth, Kiermaier put the Rays up 3-1 on his two-run shot off Jimenez (1-2).
"Credit KK," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I don't think he was seeing the ball that well early on and he expanded the zone. Got a pitch he could handle and really picked us big."
Tampa Bay has won three in a row, with 11 of its 13 runs over the stretch coming with two outs.
Reliever Enny Romero (1-0) gave up a hit in one-plus innings for his first major league win. Alex Colome got the final two outs to get his fifth save.
Jimenez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings as the Orioles lost for the eighth time in 12 games since starting the season 7-0.
"We'll take that type of competitive outing on the road," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The Rays threatened in each of the first three innings but managed just a 1-0 lead on Desmond Jennings' bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third. Tampa Bay went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position during the stretch.
"We put a clinic on offensively of not what to do with runners in scoring positions early on," Cash said. "That's OK. Sometimes it gets difficult."
The Rays finished hitless in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Baltimore snapped a 20-inning scoring drought to tie it at 1 on Mark Trumbo's RBI single in the fourth. The Orioles wasted a chance for a big inning when Jonathan Schoop hit a pop fly and Caleb Joseph grounded into a double play against Jake Odorizzi with the bases loaded.
"We had their guy on the ropes and we just didn't execute," Joseph said. "We needed to score some runs to take some pressure off Ubaldo. We've got to execute better in that situation, and more times than not this season we have. But we've got to get multiple runs in that situation."
Odorizzi allowed one run and seven hits in five innings.
Erasmo Ramirez got a pair of double plays over two innings and Xavier Cedeno retired Chris Davis on a pop fly to start the ninth before Colome finished up.
Trumbo extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning single. His career high is 12, set last season.
Orioles: INF-OF Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) started a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Rays: RHPs Alex Cobb and Chase Whitley, both coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw 25 fastballs off a mound. Both could return this season. ... Closer Brad Boxberger (adductor surgery) will have a mound session Wednesday and could be back in mid-May.
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg took part in a team-sponsored Twitter chat and said he is "very" interested in working on a contract extension with Kiermaier. When asked about changes in baseball over the next decade, Sternberg wrote "Faster pace, more integration of technology and greater emphasis on methods to keep players healthy."
Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (1-1) and Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore (1-1) are the scheduled starters for Wednesday night's series finale. This is the eighth consecutive series between the teams that Tillman will have a start. Tillman is 2-3 and didn't factor in the decision in the other two games, both won by the Rays.