BALTIMORE—For the second time in four weeks, the Orioles won a series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the same team that won 18 of 19 against them last year.
On Sunday, with scheduled starter Jordan Lyles scratched because of a stomach virus, manager Brandon Hyde decided to start Austin Voth and follow him with a bevy of relievers.
Voth and six relievers combined for a 2-1 win before an announced crowd of 23,004 at Oriole Park on a gorgeous Sunday.
The Orioles (30-38) had just four hits. Tampa Bay (36-30) had nine, left 10 on base and had one thrown out at the plate.
“That’s incredibly impressive,” Hyde said. “Everybody threw great, really happy.”
The Orioles won their 30th game in Game No. 68. Last year, it took until their 92nd game. A big reason is their bullpen, which is far better than last year’s. Of the seven pitchers who threw, only Jorge López was with the team a year ago, and he started for most of the season.
“Makeup, toughness, stuff, grit,” Hyde said about his relief pitchers. “Lopie’s got 11 saves now. He’s got a 0.79 ERA. He’s pitching in the biggest spot in the game against the middle of the order.”
López hasn’t allowed an earned run in 12 straight outings covering 15 1/3 innings, and has yet to give up a home run in 34 1/3 innings. No other pitcher has thrown as many innings without yielding a home run.
“Getting stronger every day,” López said of the bullpen. “Guys are [gaining] experience and how to handle things, which is huge for them. So happy for them.”
Voth recorded two outs in the third inning and left with a 1-0 lead thanks to an exceptional relay started by rightfielder Ryan McKenna.
“Luckily, I was here early enough so that I had plenty of time to prepare,” Voth said. “I was just like, ‘All right, let’s go.’”
Brett Phillips, who singled with two outs in the second, tried to score on Vidal Bruján’s double to right. McKenna made a strong throw to second baseman Rougned Odor, whose throw home was just as strong, as was the tag by catcher Adley Rutschman on Phillips. That play and web gems by shortstop Jorge Mateo and Odor made two runs stand up.
Anthony Santander, who was the designated hitter, hit his 12th home run of the season off Corey Kluber (3-4) in the first. In the bottom of the third, McKenna single and scored on a double to left-center by Cedric Mullins for a 2-0 lead.
Bryan Baker relieved Voth, who walked Manuel Margot with two outs in the third. Baker walked Yandy Diaz and Ji-Man Choi before striking out Randy Arozarena to end the third.
In the fourth, Francisco Mejia singled and scored on a two-out double by Taylor Walls between McKenna and Mullins. Walls moved on to third when McKenna bobbled the ball and Mullins had trouble picking it up. Nick Vespi relieved Baker and struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end the fourth.
Vespi (2-0) pitched a perfect fifth. In the sixth, Oriole reliever Mike Baumann got two quick outs before Phillips and Bruján singled. With runners on first and third, Odor deftly fielded a slow grounder by Walls to second and flipped it to Mountcastle, who caught it on a bounce for the third out.
Félix Bautista pitched a spotless seventh. Cionel Pérez allowed a single to Harold Ramirez to start the eighth, and after two outs, López relieved Pérez and balked Ramirez to second before retiring Isaac Paredes on a fly ball to right.
“The amount of arms that we have that just have live arms and can throw hard and locate it well with one or two good offspeed pitches, you don’t really see that too often,” Voth said. “This organization, they’re really good at bringing guys in and bringing out the strengths that they have.”
López worked a scoreless ninth and completed the four-out save.
“It’s unbelievable what he’s doing,” Hyde said.
Notes: Mateo stole his 17th base in the eighth inning after he was hit by a pitch by Luke Bard. … The Orioles play the Washington Nationals on Tuesday and Wednesday at Camden Yards. Washington will pitch Erick Fedde (4-5, 4.88) and Patrick Corbin (3-9, 6.59). The Orioles have yet to decide on their pitchers.
Minor league update: Catcher Jacob Nottingham drove in three runs, and rightfielder DJ Stewart hit a two-run home run as Triple-A Norfolk beat Syracuse, 8-6. Stewart’s home run was his fourth. Third baseman Rylan Bannon hit his eighth home run. Shortstop Jordan Westburg had two more hits and is batting .405.
Logan Gillaspie (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings. Rico Garcia earned his third save, pitching two hitless innings, striking out four and walking three.
Chris Vallimont pitched five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out 10, in Double-A Bowie’s 8-4 loss to Binghamton. Easton Lucas allowed five runs in the eighth inning. First baseman J.D. Mundy drove in two runs.
Rightfielder Davis Tavarez drove in five runs and third baseman Coby Mayo hit a two-run home run as High-A Aberdeen beat Jersey Shore. 7-6. Tavarez hit a two-run home run, his third, and Mayo hit his 12th homer.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB