BALTIMORE -- For five seasons, Jeremy Hellickson was a mainstay in the Tampa Bay Rays' starting rotation. After the 2014 season, despite going 40-36 wtih a 3.78 ERA and pitching in two postseasons, Hellickson was traded to the Diamondbacks.
Two trades later, the 30-year-old is back in the American League East, and on Saturday pitched against the Rays for the first time in the Orioles' 9-6 loss.
Hellickson allowed a three-run home run to Lucas Duda in the third inning but no other damage, permitting his former team just one hit outside of the third frame during his six innings.
He retired his first eight batters before running into trouble. To Hellickson's credit he made Duda work for the homer, throwing eight pitches in the at-bat before the Rays' slugger connected on the ninth.
"Two outs, nobody on. I just can't get that third out for some reason," Hellickson said. "Duda's always given me trouble. I made seven or eight good pitches and then the mistake I make, he doesn't miss."
Duda, who Hellickson often faced when both were in the National League East, is 8-for-17 with three homers and eight RBIs against him.
Hellickson is now 2-6 with a 6.97 ERA in 10 starts since the Orioles acquired him July 29.
In his last outing, Hellickson allowed a pair of three-run home runs to the Yankees in three-plus innings on Sept 16. This start was much better.
"He gave us a good chance to win. Solid," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He deserved probably a little better fate. It was good to see him rebound from his last outing."
There aren't many Rays left from Hellickson's time in Tampa Bay. Of the players in the starting lineup, only center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and third baseman Evan Longoria were Hellickson's teammates.
"The guys that are still there, I've talked to. I feel like I was pitching against my old team, but there's only two guys still there in the lineup and Kiermaier was only there a year, I think," Hellickson said. "It was fun. It was a lot of the same staff, the same starters. It was fun to get to see those guys."
.Hellickson may have one final start in 2017, next weekend at Tropicana Field, where he hasn't pitched since 2014 -- as a member of the Rays -- when the Orioles and Rays close out the season.