ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Baltimore Orioles are used to robust hitting. Entering Friday night's game, they had at least two extra-base hits in their previous 34 games. On Friday, they had just two hits.
Tampa Bay's Chris Archer held the Orioles to two hits in seven innings, and spotless relief pitching held Baltimore off in the Rays 2-1 win before 13,256 at Tropicana Field.
Jason Hammel was nearly as good as Archer. He held Tampa Bay (33-27) to three hits in six innings, but Desmond Jennings hit a two-run home run in the seventh for the game-winner.
Hammel (7-4) successfully followed up his awful Saturday start when he allowed three consecutive home runs to Detroit and an ejection for hitting a batter with one of his best outings.
He allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out two.
"They pitched just a tad better and made one or two less mistakes," manager Buck Showalter said.
The Orioles (34-27) scored a run in the third off Archer (1-1) on two walks and a run-scoring single by Manny Machado. Ryan Flaherty doubled in the fifth, but Baltimore was held hitless the rest of the way by Archer, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney, who earned his 13th save.
"Tonight it just ended up being the one run that cost us and myself [and] the team the game. It [stinks] but we have plenty more games to play. It was honestly just a good game tonight," Hammel said.
The two hits were the Orioles low for the season, Baltimore's 3-4-5 hitters, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Chris Davis were a combined 0-for-12.
"We didn't look like we were today, but we're always within striking distance," Jones said. "Even with the one-run game, we still liked our chances."
NOTES: Three of the players drafted by the Orioles on Friday were catchers. Four of the 11 players picked in the first two days of the draft were catchers, three of them from high school .
Alex Murphy, a Frederick County native who attends Calvert Hall High School in Baltimore County, was drafted in the sixth round. He played in the Brooks Robinson All-Star Game.
Showalter watched Murphy play a few innings on Sunday before the game was postponed by rain and said he was impressed by the young catcher.
The other catchers picked from Jonah Heim from Amherst, New York in the fourth round and Fresno State's Austin Wynns in the 10th round. On Thursday, the Orioles picked high school catcher Chance Sisco in the second round.
Mike Belfiore was recalled from Norfolk, but he was optioned back to Norfolk after the game. Pedro Strop, who's on the disabled list with a lower back strain, is eligible to be reactivated on Saturday. Strop threw an inning of a simulated game on Thursday indoors because of rain in Sarasota, Fla.
Belfiore was recalled for a game at Minnesota last month, but was returned the next day without being used. It may happen again.
Brian Roberts met with Showalter on Friday afternoon. Roberts is recovering from surgery on his right hamstring.
"The doctor told me it would be six-eight weeks," Roberts said. "We're about four weeks, so we're in a pretty good spot. I can't tell you what two weeks from now holds. I think we're at a pretty decent place all things considered."
Wei-Yin Chen is now throwing from 90 feet, a sign that Showalter took as positive. He's on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle.
Nolan Reimold remains back in Baltimore rehabbing his strained right hamstring. Showalter said that he hasn't progressed enough to be sent out on a rehab assignment yet.
Chris Snyder, who was designated for assignment Tuesday, was optioned to Norfolk.