BALTIMORE (AP) — Kevin Cash — who would know a thing or two about good relief pitching — came away impressed by the options Baltimore has for the late innings.
“They’ve got some bullpen arms down there that are putting together good seasons, and challenged us,” the Tampa Bay manager said.
Rookie Adley Rutschman singled home the game’s only run in the seventh as the Orioles handed the Rays their fourth straight loss, 1-0 on Friday night. Dean Kremer pitched six scoreless innings, and three Baltimore relievers protected the lead. Félix Bautista and Jorge López were particularly impressive, striking out seven of the nine hitters they faced.
Kremer allowed five hits and matched the six scoreless frames thrown by Tampa Bay’s Shane Baz. Then Ryan Mountcastle hit a one-out double off Calvin Faucher (0-1), and Rutschman followed with a single to center.
It was just the fourth RBI in 23 games for the highly touted catching prospect, who hit his first home run two days earlier at Toronto.
“I’m just going pitch to pitch, AB to AB,” Rutschman said.
Bautista (3-2) struck out the side in the seventh for the Orioles and retired all four of his batters. Cionel Pérez allowed two singles after relieving Bautista, but he struck out Vidal Bruján before giving way to López.
López fanned Yandy Díaz for the third out of the eighth, then struck out three more in the ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.
Bautista lowered his ERA to 1.65, Pérez lowered his to 1.35, and López lowered his to 0.82. Baltimore’s relievers have a 3.25 ERA collectively this year, down from 5.70 in 2021.
Tampa Bay, a team that’s become synonymous with good bullpen work in recent years, is struggling now because of its offense. The Rays were shut out for the fifth time this season and the second time in four games….