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Yarbrough strong, but offense falls flat in loss

Left-hander pitches 7 innings of relief as Tampa Bay leans on its bullpen vs. O's
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ryan Yarbrough didn't start Friday, rather he relieved like a starting pitcher, effectively delivering a quality start. Unfortunately, the Rays' offense came up flat in a 2-0 loss to the Orioles at Tropicana Field.

The Rays' use of "bullpen days" has been a hot topic all season, and that conversation was turned up a notch this week when Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that relievers would start each of the three weekend games against the Orioles.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. PETERSBURG -- Ryan Yarbrough didn't start Friday, rather he relieved like a starting pitcher, effectively delivering a quality start. Unfortunately, the Rays' offense came up flat in a 2-0 loss to the Orioles at Tropicana Field.

The Rays' use of "bullpen days" has been a hot topic all season, and that conversation was turned up a notch this week when Rays manager Kevin Cash announced that relievers would start each of the three weekend games against the Orioles.

View Full Game Coverage

Thus, Sergio Romo started for the Rays on Friday night, in advance of the starter, Yarbrough, coming in to pitch the bulk of the game.

Romo didn't have as much success against the Orioles as he did the previous weekend, when the veteran reliever started back-to-back games against the Angels and didn't allow a run. This time, Romo lasted just two outs before Danny Valencia's RBI double brought Cash to the mound to change pitchers. Yarbrough took over and got the last out of the inning, then went on to give the Rays an excellent seven-inning performance.

Video: BAL@TB: Robertson holds on to popup after collision

"Pretty good [groove] obviously," Yarbrough said. "... Not much time to think about things. Basically, it was just a matter of getting ready as fast as possible, not really thinking, and just trying to execute pitches. … Just trying to treat it like a normal start day. Just a matter of coming in and not throwing the first pitch. Just went through my whole routine and controlled what I could control."

The only blemish on the rookie left-hander's line came in the sixth when Jonathan Schoop homered with one out to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead. His final line showed one run on seven hits and a career-high eight strikeouts.

"A lot of strikes," Cash said. "... When you're throwing strikes at a 70-percent clip, generally you're rolling pretty good. Just watching the hitters' swings. I know the Schoop home run, but other than that, there weren't many balls that found the barrel. He mixed really well. He had the cutter going, and then the fastball."

Video: BAL@TB: Cash on Yarbrough, impact of the trade

A big part of the Rays' ineffectiveness came from the right arm of Orioles starter David Hess, who allowed only four hits while walking three and striking out three in 6 2/3 innings to move to 2-1 on the season.

"I think you have to give credit to Hess," said Cash when asked if his offense came out flat. "We faced him [May 12]. [Matt] Duffy hit the three-run homer off him and then he kind of shut us down. So there's something there. We're just not seeing him, for whatever reason, very well. I do think it has to do [with how] he pitches up with the fastball a little bit. But he mixed. He had enough zip on the fastball to get us to expand up, and it was a quiet night for us offensively."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Romo struck out Schoop with two outs in the first, but he did so with a wild pitch. Adam Jones went to second and Schoop to first. Valencia followed with the RBI double that gave the Orioles a lead they would not relinquish.

Video: BAL@TB: Valencia opens the scoring with an RBI double

SOUND SMART
Yarbrough tied a club record for a relief pitcher with his eight strikeouts. The last time it happened was June 13, 2007, when Jason Hammel accomplished the feat against San Diego.

HE SAID IT
"Look, I try to be consistent with all of the trades, and I know that every decision we make as an organization, we're kind of doing it for the greater good. And we've talked about the youth that we have in this organization. And those guys don't get those opportunities if we don't make some changes. Saying that, we're excited about the guys we got back, but saying there's no doubt, I mean you have to respect what Denard Span has done in a brief time here, and obviously what [Alex Colome] has done." -- Cash, on the pregame trade that sent Colome and Span to the Mariners 

Video: BAL@TB: Rays deal Colome and Span to the Mariners

UP NEXT
Ryne Stanek will make his first Major League start on Saturday when the Rays host the Orioles in a 4:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. He has averaged 97.9 mph on his fastball this season. Andrew Cashner will start for the Orioles.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Ryan Yarbrough