BALTIMORE (AP) — Yennier Cano has been a sensation in the Baltimore bullpen these last few weeks, and closer Félix Bautista is still overpowering.
As the Orioles tried to protect a lead against baseball’s top team, manager Brandon Hyde leaned heavily on them both.
“The last three innings didn’t quite go the way we drew it up,” Hyde said.
Cano and Bautista got the final nine outs for Baltimore in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night. The Orioles held on after Adley Rutschman homered and Grayson Rodriguez pitched into the sixth inning. Baltimore snapped a three-game losing streak, its longest mini-slump of the season.
The Orioles pulled within 5 1/2 games of the major league-leading Rays. Tampa Bay won the opener Monday in a three-game series between the American League’s top teams.
“They’re very good. They’ve got some big arms in the back end of their bullpen,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “They’re very athletic, and we’re seeing that in the first two games we play them.”
Rodriguez (2-0) allowed seven hits in a career-high 5 2/3 innings. It was a nice rebound for the rookie right-hander after he allowed six runs against Kansas City in his previous start.
With a 4-2 lead, Rodriguez got the first two outs of the sixth before allowing a single by Isaac Paredes. Mike Baumann came on and, after a walk and a wild pitch left men on second and third, retired Christian Bethancourt on a grounder.
Cano, who has pitched 17 2/3 innings this year without yielding a run, replaced Baumann following a leadoff walk in the seventh. He breezed through that inning and struck out the first two batters of the eighth. Then he gave up a single to Luke Raley — just the third hit against him all season.
“The leadoff walk in the seventh hurt, and with the top of the order there and Cano available — I don’t like pitching him more than an inning, it was just kind of the way the situation in the game happened,” Hyde said. “He got five enormous outs for us.”
Cano pitched two innings in his previous appearance, Sunday at Atlanta. After Raley’s hit, he exited and the 6-foot-8, 285-pound Bautista came in. He walked a batter but struck out Taylor Walls for the third out. Then he walked the first two hitters of the ninth before Yandy Díaz bounced into a double play for the third time in the game. Wander Franco hit a routine flyball to right to end it.
It was Bautista’s eighth save in 11 chances, and he lowered his ERA to 1.59.
Franco and Walls homered for the Rays, who lost for only the third time in 22 games in which the team hit multiple homers.
Franco homered to put the Rays up 1-0 in the first, but Zach Eflin (4-1) couldn’t hold the lead. Gunnar Henderson tripled to lead off the bottom of the third and scored on Jorge Mateo’s groundout. After a two-out double by Cedric Mullins, Rutschman ended an 0-for-19 drought with a two-run shot to right.
Austin Hays hit an RBI single the following inning to make it 4-1.
Walls led off the fifth with a homer, and Tampa Bay had runners at the corners when Rodriguez struck out Randy Arozarena on a 98 mph fastball for the third out.
“I think the adrenaline was pretty high,” Rodriguez said. “A little mad at myself, kind of, for letting that snowball a little bit.”
Arozarena extended his on-base streak to 20 games, but he was picked off after a first-inning walk and then struck out his other three times at bat.
Rays: Cash said RHP Pete Fairbanks (right forearm inflammation) will pitch for Triple-A Durham on Friday.
Orioles: Baltimore put INF Ramón Urías (left hamstring strain) on the 10-day injured list. The Orioles recalled LHP Drew Rom, INF/OF Ryan O’Hearn and INF Terrin Vavra from Triple-A Norfolk, and they optioned LHP Keegan Akin to Norfolk and designated C Luis Torrens for assignment.
Baltimore’s Dean Kremer (3-1) pitches the series finale Wednesday night. Tampa Bay starts Jalen Beeks (1-2).
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