BALTIMORE -- Kevin Cash made a game-time decision on Tuesday night, pulling scheduled starterErasmo Ramirez with a poor weather forecast looming. The risk paid off, as Tampa Bay's bullpen and a pair of fourth-inning runs were enough to hold off the first-place Orioles and give the Rays the 2-0 series-evening
BALTIMORE -- Kevin Cash made a game-time decision on Tuesday night, pulling scheduled starterErasmo Ramirez with a poor weather forecast looming. The risk paid off, as Tampa Bay's bullpen and a pair of fourth-inning runs were enough to hold off the first-place Orioles and give the Rays the 2-0 series-evening win.
The victory snapped a four-game road losing streak for the Rays, who entered the game with a 1-7 road record that was the worst in the Majors.
Cash instead handed the ball to reliever Austin Pruitt, who tossed three scoreless innings and held the O's to just one hit to set the tone for the night.
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"The bullpen stepped up in a huge way," said Rays manager Kevin Cash, who gave Pruitt a heads-up that he could be a spot starter Monday or Tuesday because of the uncertain forecast. "Obviously, the rain never came but it worked out in our favor."
The Rays scored a pair of runs in the fourth on Timothy Beckham's run-scoring single and Derek Norris' sacrifice fly, which was all Orioles starter Wade Miley allowed over his seven frames. Miley has turned in three consecutive quality starts for Baltimore.
Ramirez, who was warming up later in the game, never got in. Instead, the Rays used five relievers to get the job done, and the O's -- who found out about the move about 20 minutes before game time -- had no answer.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the late change wasn't a challenge.
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"If you come to our advance meeting and the way that we prepare, we go through every guy in the bullpen," Showalter said. "We're better than that, but they were really good. You've got to tip your hat to them. But what people miss, it's kind of the way the game changed, you're seeing all kind of different stuff and it's not always the starter.
"So many adjustments have to be made, and when they're all operating like they were tonight, it's really a challenge."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cash's gamble pays off: Cash played matchups early and was onto his fourth reliever in six innings, but the Rays' skipper was able to maneuver the win.
Miley quality: The O's lefty, coming off his best start as an Oriole, kept the Rays in check over seven innings. Miley lowered his ERA to 2.08 and struck out eight in his third consecutive quality outing, but chided himself for the fourth-inning runs.
"I was missing those 3-2 pitches," he said. "It's frustrating, but at the same time, I have to do a better job of taking a step back and throwing a good pitch early in the count."
"Mark is a very good student of the game, a student of hitting. I trust him. He'll figure it out. I know it's frustrating for him. But, you know, he's not the only one who hasn't been at the level he's spoiled us with. We've got some other guys that [are struggling]. Somebody will pay down the line." -- Showalter, on Trumbo and some of his other big bats who are underperforming
"No, that wasn't the way I planned it, but it was cool the way it happened." -- Pruitt, on his first Major League start
O'DAY HIS OLD SELF
After allowing five runs in his first three outings, Orioles reliever Darren O'Day threw 1 2/3 innings for his fifth consecutive scoreless outing. More >
Rays:Alex Cobb (1-2, 4.88) has history on his side in Wednesday's series finale at 7:05 p.m. ET. The right-hander is 4-1 with 1.84 ERA in eight career appearances -- all starts -- against Baltimore. However, his last matchup with the Orioles took place in 2014. Cobb has allowed at least four earned runs in three consecutive starts, losing two.
Orioles: The Orioles will send Dylan Bundy to the mound for the series finale on Wednesday night. Bundy has been the O's ace so far, pitching to a 1.37 ERA over four quality starts. The righty blanked the Red Sox over seven-plus innings on Friday.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
Ben Standig is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Rays on Tuesday.