Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Austin Pruitt pitched the longest regular-season major league save in nearly 16 years Sunday, going 5 2/3 innings of relief in an 8-3 victory over the Orioles in St. Petersburg, Fla.
On Sept. 3, 2002, the Texas Rangers’ Joaquín Benoit picked up a seven-inning save, also against the Orioles.
Since the save became an official statistic in 1969, only two other pitchers have gone at least 5 2/3 innings to get one: the Rangers’ Horacio Piña of (six innings, April 23, 1972) and Oakland Athletics’ Bob Locker (5 2/3 innings, Aug. 12, 1970).
Pruitt, who gave up three hits and struck out five, relieved former Oriole Vida Nuño, who allowed three hits and walked four in three innings. Nuño, a left-hander, followed “opener” Sergio Romo, who lasted just one-third of an inning and yielded three runs.
Romo, a right-hander with a sweeping slider, also started Friday night’s series opener and has started four of the Rays' past eight games over a nine-day stretch in a bid by Tampa Bay to take advantage of right-handed-heavy lineups.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Romo is the first pitcher with four starts in nine days since left-hander Claude Osteen of the Chicago White Sox in 1975.