For the second night in a row, the Orioles got a solid starting pitching performance and quality start, but not a win.
Jeremy Hellickson outdueled Wei-Yin Chen as Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 3-1 in Game 1 of a three-game series and an O’s six-game homestand.
Chen gave up just four hits and three runs over 6 2/3 innings, throwing 109 pitches. He falls to 8-6 with an ERA of 3.82.
O’s starters have now recorded seven straight quality starts for the first time since posting nine in a row from September 29, 2010 to April 4, 2011.
But Brooks Conrad hit a two-run homer in the Tampa fifth on a hanging curve after Adam Jones had given the O’s a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a solo homer, his 23rd. The Rays added an insurance run in the sixth on Jeff Keppinger’s RBI single.
O’s pitcher has now allowed three or fewer runs for seven games in a row. They last did that from Sept. 28, 2000 to April 5, 2001.
The Orioles fall to 51-46 overall, 6-6 since the All-Star break and 34-16 in games decided by two runs or less.
In Game 2 of this series Wednesday night, Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 2.61 ERA) faces the Rays’ David Price (13-4, 2.64 ERA).