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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida—The Orioles had hoped to build upon Thursday’s extra-inning victory over Tampa Bay, even though manager Brandon Hyde wasn’t going to use top relievers Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista, who both pitched in the last two games, on Friday against the Rays.
But Hyde didn’t have to concern himself with who was going to close for the Orioles because not only did they never have the lead, they didn’t score after getting only two hits, equaling their season low, and suffering their seventh shutout, 3-0, before an announced crowd of 19,703 at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles (59-38) had taken first place over Tampa Bay (61-40) in the American League East with Thursday 4-3 win. Although they still are technically in first by percentage points, they’ll have to win both remaining games in the four-game weekend series to leave here with a real lead.
Pitcher Kyle Bradish (6-5) threw his fifth straight quality start but got no backing from his offense.
Tampa Bay starter Zach Eflin (11-5) gave up a second-inning double to Ryan Mountcastle and a fourth-inning single to Ryan O’Hearn and walked Adley Rutschman in the sixth.
“He was definitely sharp tonight using both sides of the plate,” Hyde said. “They were getting the balls down for strikes. Didn’t leave a whole lot of balls in the middle part of the plate for us. Had a tough time getting anything going tonight.”
Eflin struck out eight, including Mountcastle and Austin Hays, his last two hitters. Colin Pache struck out Aaron Hicks, Ramón Urías and Jordan Westburg in the eighth.
Pete Fairbanks struck out Gunnar Henderson, the sixth straight Oriole to strike out, to begin the ninth. He walked Rutschman before striking out Anthony Santander and O’Hearn for his 11th save.
The Orioles struck out 14 times, eight in the last three innings.
“It just wasn’t our night offensively,” Hyde said.
Tampa Bay, which broke a five-game losing streak, scored in the second on a double by Brandon Lowe and an RBI single by Harold Ramirez.
Isaac Parades hit his 18th home run of the season against Bradish in the sixth.
Bradish allowed two runs on six hits in six innings.
“It came down to two mistakes,” Bradish said. “Overall, solid outing. Slider was a little inconsistent.”
In his last five starts, Bradish has allowed five runs on 12 hits in 32 1/3 innings.
“I think it’s been a good little stretch,” Bradish said. “I would have liked a different outcome today. That home run just kind of irritated me. Just can’t really happen in the sixth inning when the guy on the other side is dealing like he was.”
Right-handed pitcher Shintaro Fujinami, who was activated earlier on Friday, came in for the seventh, and José Siri hit his first pitch for his 20th home run.
“Got ambushed on the first pitch, but after that, wow!” Hyde said. “I thought he had great stuff.”
Notes: The Orioles are 4-15 in their last 19 games at Tropicana Field. … The Orioles also had two hits in their 5-2 loss to Texas on April 5th. … Fujinami is the 44th player used by the Orioles this season. … Grayson Rodriguez (2-2, 7.33) will face Shane McClanahan (11-1, 2.56) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. … Santander had reached base in his previous 17 games. … The time of the game was two hours, nine minutes, the third fastest of the season.
Minor league update: Garrett Stallings (2-2) threw five scoreless innings as Triple-A Norfolk beat Gwinnett, 5-1, in the first game of a doubleheader.
Leftfielder Daz Cameron hit two home runs and shortstop Joey Ortiz also homered.
First baseman Jacob Teter drove in two runs and leftfielder Shayne Fontana homered as Double-A Bowie beat Harrisburg, 5-2.
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