Renato Nunez banged out an early two-run single while starter John Means struck out 12 in just 5 2/3 innings as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the visiting Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Baltimore's victory prevented Tampa Bay (35-19) from pulling a sweep of the rare five-game series. The Rays won the first four -- limiting Baltimore to just a run in three of them -- before the Orioles (23-31) took the final game.
Sunday's game turned into a pitcher's duel between Means (2-3) and Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough (1-4).
Means gave up just one run on three hits. The left-hander struck out seven straight batters between the first and third innings. He also struck out the side in the fourth, sandwiched around a homer by Willy Adames.
Means struck out one batter in the fifth and another in the sixth before being pulled with two outs in that inning.
Overall, Baltimore pitchers struck out 16 Tampa Bay batters as the Rays never took the lead. Cesar Valdez came on in the ninth and needed just eight pitches to set down the Rays in order and earn his second save.
Yarbrough pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. He kept the Baltimore offense quiet after the first inning.
As in Saturday night's 3-1 Tampa Bay win, there wasn't much offense, and it came early in the game. Baltimore took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Nunez got a two-run RBI single that scored Austin Hays and Hanser Alberto, each of whom had singled.
The Rays cut the lead to 2-1 on Adames' homer to straightaway center field in the fourth, his seventh on the season.
Tampa Bay finally got some positive news on the injury front Sunday as the Rays activated catcher Mike Zunino, who had been out with an oblique issue. Pitcher Sean Gilmartin was sent to the team's alternate training site to open a spot for Zunino.
--Field Level Media