ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Taj Bradley allowed one run over a career-high six innings, Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes homered, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 on Wednesday to split a two-game series between the top two teams in the AL East.
Bradley (5-3) gave up three hits and struck out eight, The 22-year old has struck out 71 over 49 innings.
“From day one, he’s kind of come here with a lot of confidence and shown that he’s very even keel.” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He doesn’t get emotional in the moment. And talking to him after games, it’s really impressive the perspectives that he carries after the outing.”
Bradley, who didn’t have a walk after issuing 10 in 13 innings in his previous three starts, called this his best start.
“This is number one right here because of no walks,” Bradley said. “No walks in six innings. I just felt like I pitched good.”
Arozarena and Paredes started a four-run second with consecutive homers against Tyler Wells (6-3), who also made two errors during the inning.
Arozarena had an RBI single in a two-run seventh as Tampa Bay improved to 32-8 at home and stopped a season-long three-game skid overall. He went 3 for 3 with a walk and is hitting .364 with 16 homers and 40 RBIs in 42 games against Baltimore.
It’s the best home start since the 2008 Chicago Cubs also went 32-8.
Colin Poche, Kevin Kelly and Zack Littell completed a four-hitter.
Ramón Urías and Gunnar Henderson homered for the Orioles, who are five back of the first-place Rays.
“We didn’t play very well today, and those games are going to happen,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
Urías homered off Bradley in the third, and Henderson took Littell deep in the ninth.
Baltimore’s Austin Hays, who started the day with the AL’s top batting average, went 0 for 3 and had his average drop from .327 to .323. His career-best five-game multiple-hits streak ended.
After Arozarena and Paredes went deep in the second, Manuel Margot reached when Wells misplayed his 57-mph comebacker before Taylor Walls walked. After both advanced on Christian Bethancourt’s fly, Wells fielded Jose Siri’s soft infield single near the third-base line but made an errant throw to first as two runs scored.
Wells gave up four runs and four hits in five innings. The right-hander had won his previous three starts in which he allowed two runs in each of the outings.
“Tyler’s been amazing for us all season, just didn’t have his best start,” Hyde said. “We didn’t get much going offensively today off Bradley.”
Wells has given up 18 homers this season.
The Baltimore starters streak of allowing three or fewer runs ended at 11 games. It’s just the second time in 22 games that they allowed more than three.
Orioles: CF Cedric Mullins (groin) went 1 for 5 with two RBIs, and 1B Ryan Mountcastle (vertigo) was hitless in five at-bats in their first rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk at Nashville. Hyde said both will be evaluated on a daily basis. … Relievers Mychal Givens (shoulder) and Dillon Tate (elbow) each worked an inning for Norfolk.
ROCKIN’ AT THE PARK
Rock legend and Orioles fan Joan Jett was at the game. She was in the Tampa Bay area for a concert Wednesday night. Wearing an Orioles’ shirt, Jett had a front row seat behind the Baltimore dugout.
Orioles: RHP Kyle Gibson (8-4) and Seattle RHP Logan Gilbert (4-4) are Friday night’s scheduled starters.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (11-1) looks to become the majors’ first 12-game winner Thursday night against Kansas City. Former Tampa Bay coach Matt Quatraro faces his old team for the first time since becoming the Royals manager. Kansas City will use RHP Jose Cuas (3-0) as an opener.