ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter was asked before today's game whether he will use reliever Pedro Strop in the same role or ease him back into competition after a stint on the disabled list.
"He's physically ready to go," Showalter said. "We'll let the game dictate it and the needs of our bullpen physically. But I'm hoping there was a byproduct of him having the injury in that it gave him a fresh start, something he didn't get with the WBC."
Strop hasn't pitched for the Orioles since May 23 in Toronto, when he gave up a grand slam to Edwin Encarnacion. Let's see whether he's used today in a tight situation.
The Orioles are trailing 1-0 in the second inning today. Ben Zobrist doubled to right field and scored with two outs on Evan Longoria's single into left field.
Kevin Gausman, making his fourth major league start, struck out two batters and threw 25 pitches.
The Orioles worked Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson for 23 pitches in a scoreless top of the first inning. Manny Machado singled with one out and Adam Jones reached on an infield hit with two down, but Chris Davis popped up.
Machado extended his hitting streak to six games. He's hit safely in 23 of the last 25 road games, and 15 of the last 16. Machado's 54 road hits lead the majors.
Here are some leftover quotes from infielder Wilson Betemit, who visited teammates today at Tropicana Field. Betemit talked about the difficulty of not being able to play and how he's progressed in baseball activities:
"It's hard regardless. When I'm in the house, the first thing I'm thinking is how I want to be playing, but I'm hurt right now and I can't play. That happens in the game.
"I was scared the last week when I started hitting and I was first swinging. I didn't know how I would do. Then day after day I felt much better and now I'm hitting every day."
Down on the farm, Triple-A Norfolk placed outfielder Trayvon Robinson on the disabled list retroactive to June 7 with a thumb injury sustained while diving for a ball. Left-hander Mike Belfiore was activated after being optioned last night.
Reliever Daniel McCutchen is starting tonight for the Tides. Jair Jurrjens is being skipped in the rotation because of a sore thumb.
Update: Gausman isn't getting hit hard, but he's down 3-0 after two innings and his pitch count stands at 48, including 32 for strikes.
Yunel Escobar and Zobrist had RBI singles in the second. Zobrist lined the ball into left field. Otherwise, Gausman has been victimized by a couple of fly balls that fell in and a one-out walk to Luke Scott in the second.
Gameday on MLB.com has Gausman throwing a splitter, as it did during his last start, but that doesn't seem accurate. One "splitter" was clocked at 81 mph, another at 88 mph.
Hellickson has retired seven in a row since Jones' infield hit with two outs in the first inning.
Update II: Gausman was charged with seven runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, the last three scoring on Luke Scott's bases-loaded triple off T.J. McFarland. Gausman walked three and struck out six. He threw 90 pitches, 55 for strikes.
The seven runs match Gausman's career high in four major league starts. The Nats scored seven off him in four innings on May 28.
Gausman had retired seven of eight batters before Zobrist led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his third hit today. The guy mashes against the Orioles.
Zobrist took third on Kelly Johnson's fly ball and Longoria walked to put runners on the corners with one out. James Loney blooped an RBI single into left-center field to increase Tampa Bay's lead to 4-0 and Desmond Jennings walked to load the bases and force McFarland into the game.
"Happy 24th birthday, T.J. Now pitch to Luke Scott with the bases loaded."
Gausman had six strikeouts after three innings, a major league high for the rookie.
In four starts, Gausman has allowed 19 runs and 28 hits in 19 1/3 innings, with six walks, 15 strikeouts and five home runs. His ERA jumped to 8.84 today.
The Orioles put runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the fifth on singles by Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy, but they failed to score.
Update III: The Orioles have dropped the first two games of this series, losing today 8-0.
Pedro Strop allowed a hit and struck out two batters in a scoreless eighth inning.
Taylor Teagarden replaced Wieters behind the plate. Alexi Casilla went to second base, with Ryan Flaherty moving to shortstop. Steve Pearce pinch-hit for Adam Jones in the ninth. It was that kind of a day.
The Orioles didn't have a baserunner after Hardy's single with no outs in the fifth. The last 15 batters were retired.