Rays blank Orioles 2-0 in strange 'home' game for Baltimore
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The Baltimore Orioles lost a pitcher's duel in the first of three unique home games.
Alex Colome and four relievers combined on a four-hitter, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore 2-0 Friday night in a relocated home game for the Orioles.
The three-game series was moved from Camden Yards to Tropicana Field this week after rioting broke out in Baltimore following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody after suffering a spinal cord injury.
''Not really,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said when asked if the game felt strange. ''It'd be a very convenient excuse. It might seem strange, but once the game starts they're doing something they've done their whole lives. We pitched real well. They just pitched a little better.''
The announced crowd was 9,945. The Rays are averaging 17,545 in home attendance this season.
Colome (1-0), reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, allowed three hits and struck out six over five innings in his season debut. The right-hander was hospitalized during spring training with pneumonia.
''Everyday I worked hard to be good today,'' Colome said. ''It's a nice day for me.''
Brandon Gomes, Steve Geltz, Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger, who pitched the ninth for his sixth save, all threw an inning.
Chris Tillman (2-3) retired his first 11 batters before a two-out walk in the fourth to Asdrubal Cabrera, who scored on Evan Longoria's double. James Loney made it 2-0 on a single that drove in Longoria.
Tillman gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings. He had seven strikeouts and two walks.
''I prepared myself like it was another road game,'' Tillman said. ''It's weird taking the field first on the road. Other than that, it didn't feel anything different.''
The Orioles batted last in the game, and general admission tickets were sold for the lower bowl.
''It was pretty even fan wise,'' Loney said.
Mascots from both teams entertained the crowd, which included a nice gathering of Orioles fans behind Baltimore's dugout on the third base side.
Baltimore won two of three from the Rays in their season-opening series last month at Tampa Bay.
Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (left knee) is expected to start Saturday. ... Tampa Bay closer Jake McGee (back stiffness) won't be ready to return next week from his rehab assignment.
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (left shoulder) and INF Ryan Flaherty (groin) could start rehab assignments Monday with Class A Bowie.
Rays: LHP Everett Teaford accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Durham.
Orioles: Steve Pearce made his first professional start at second base after taking grounder at the position for the first time Thursday.
''I know I can do it,'' Pearce said.
He had two errorless chances.
The Orioles struck out 13 times, with Chris Davis and Alejandro De Aza striking out three times each.
''They pitch well,'' Showalter said.
The Rays struck out nine times. Steven Souza Jr. had four of them.
Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 3.42 ERA) faces Rays RHP Chris Archer (3-2, 0.84) on Saturday night. Archer is 1-3 with a 5.58 ERA in six games, including five starts, against Baltimore.