Means strikes out 12; Orioles halt Rays’ surge with 2-1 win

BALTIMORE (AP) — John Means struck out a career-high 12 in a pitching duel with Tampa Bay lefty Ryan Yarbrough, and the Baltimore Orioles stalled the Rays’ push toward the AL East title with a 2-1 victory Sunday.

Means (2-3) allowed three hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander tied a team record with seven consecutive strikeouts, matching the mark set by Sammy Stewart in 1978.

Renato Núñez hit a two-run single in the first inning for the Orioles, who made the best of five hits in averting a five-game sweep by the soaring Rays.

Tampa Bay had won seven of nine to enter Sunday with a 3 1/2-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. The Rays are also locked in a race with the White Sox for the best record in the AL — a distinction that provides the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

“We want to get the East and we want to play at home,” manager Kevin Cash said. “As far as the detail of the seeding, I personally have not spent one second thinking about that.”

Tampa Bay wasted a strong performance by Yarbrough (1-4), who gave up two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts over seven-plus innings.

The Orioles got three singles in the first, including a two-run bloop by Núñez. That was their last hit until Núñez singled with two outs in the sixth.

The Rays struck out 16 times Sunday against Means and three relievers. Willy Adames homered off Means in the fourth to cut the deficit to 2-1, but that was merely one of Tampa Bay’s four hits.

Dillon Tate struck out two in an inning of work and Hunter Harvey had two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings. César Valdez worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

The Orioles finished 13-20 at Camden Yards, which was devoid of fans from beginning to end.


Rays: C Mike Zunino (left oblique strain) came off the injured list and got his first start since Aug. 25. “Z is a big part of our team,” Cash said. “It’s really nice to have him back, and we’ll have enough time now to build him back up.” … 3B Mike Brosseau wasn’t in the starting lineup, even though he usually plays against lefties. “He’s fine. His body is just a little banged up,” Cash said.

Orioles: SS José Iglesias got the day off after being struck in the left wrist with a fastball thrown by Travis Glasgow on Saturday night. X-rays were negative, but Iglesias was “really sore,” according to manager Brandon Hyde.


Rays: The team’s quest to win the AL East heads north to New York, where Tampa Bay opens a three-game series against the Mets on Monday.

Orioles: After a day off Monday, Baltimore opens its final road trip of the season with a three-game set in Boston.


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