ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Brian Matusz gave the sliding Baltimore Orioles a huge lift.
Matusz gave up two hits in 7 1-3 innings and the Orioles ended a six-game losing streak by holding off the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Saturday.
"Every time I step on the mound, I want to go out there and compete and bring my best game, but to end a losing streak is definitely a good feeling," Matusz said. "It's nice to go out there and get back on the winning side of things."
Matusz (5-5) didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning. He struck out seven and walked three.
"I just attacked the zone and got ahead, and the Rays were swinging the bat so I got a lot of outs early in the count," Matusz said. "When you have a good rhythm and good flow, it's nice to just go out there and pound the strike zone with confidence."
Reliever Pedro Strop got Ben Zobrist to ground into a bases-loaded double play in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 17th save, completing the combined two-hitter.
"You know you've got a really good one when they can close a one-run game out on the road against the American League East, and Jimmy's done that for us this year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Baltimore broke a 1-all tie in the seventh. Mark Reynolds, who had doubled, scored with two outs when third baseman Drew Sutton made a wild throw to first on Robert Andino's grounder. Zobrist tracked down Sutton's bad throw in right field and threw out Ryan Flaherty, who also tried to score on the play.
"I rushed it," Sutton said. "I didn't know how much time I had. I just kind of spiked it. It didn't work out."
Endy Chavez, mired in a 3-for-35 slide, put the Orioles ahead 1-0 in the third with a home run off Jeremy Hellickson (4-2). It was Chavez's first homer since last Aug. 9 against Seattle.
"Both pitchers pitched great," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
Elliot Johnson reached with one out in the Rays eighth when Reynolds misplayed a grounder for an error. After Matusz walked Carlos Pena, Strop relieved.
Strop's wild pitch moved up the runners and B.J. Upton walked to load the bases. But Strop worked out of the jam by getting a double-play grounder from Zobrist.
"Unfortunately Zoe hits the ball right at the second baseman," Maddon said.
Hellickson gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one.
"Threw a lot of strikes," Hellickson said. "Didn't get deep into counts."
Sean Rodriguez got the Rays' first hit, a double to start the fifth. He later scored the tying run on Sutton's grounder.
Zobrist also made a couple nice catches, including a diving effort to take away a leadoff hit from Flaherty in the fifth.
NOTES: Matusz is 5-2 in eight overall starts against Tampa Bay. ... Hellickson has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of 11 starts this season. ... Baltimore acquired OF-1B Steve Pearce from the New York Yankees for cash and designated INF-OF Bill Hall for assignment. ... Maddon said RF Matt Joyce was out of the lineup because he is under the weather. ...Orioles LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, who underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery on May 11, is set to start shoulder exercises.