Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said that as long as rookie Jonathan Schoop — like every young player growing into his role — plays well defensively, he can live with the infielder's struggles at the plate.

Showalter also knows that Schoop has the ability to hit a ball in a way that can raise eyebrows and change the outcome of a game.

And even though Schoop was in a 2-for-17 slump, he came up with the biggest hit of the game Wednesday, a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to lead the Orioles to a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in front of an announced 11,282 at Tropicana Field.

“He's a strong young man that's growing into his body, and he's always a pitch away from doing something good for you,” Showalter said.

With one runner on and two outs, Schoop turned on an 0-2 inside fastball from Brandon Gomes (2-2) and rocketed it into the left-field stands.

“It was really nice, especially to come through there, and especially to get a W,” Schoop said. “That's all this game's about, the win.”

With the win, the Orioles (17-14) kept at least a share of first place in the American League East for another day.

The Orioles, who lost 11 of their final 13 games against Tampa Bay last season, have now won their first four against the Rays this season.

Adam Jones carried the Orioles offense early, hitting solo homers in each of his first two at-bats to give the club a 2-0 lead. He hit both home runs to center field off Rays starter Cesar Ramos.