Mark Hendrickson pitched eight shutout innings and the Devil Rays snapped their three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory against the Orioles on Tuesday night.
The win, which followed Tampa Bay’s doubleheader loss on Monday, means the Devil Rays can avoid losing their first series since dropping two of three against the New York Yankees on May 28-30.
Rocco Baldelli had four hits and an RBI for the Devil Rays, who ended their longest skid since a five-game drought in mid-May.
Hendrickson allowed six hits, struck out two and walked one. The left-hander previously helped Tampa Bay stop losing streaks of six and seven games.
“Having a pitcher perform like that picks the whole team up,” Baldelli said.
The Devil Rays are at the .500 mark after 82 games for the first time in franchise history despite being ranked 12th in the AL in hitting and 10th in ERA.
“It’s been a good story…and now we’ll just keep playing,” manager Lou Piniella said.
Baltimore designated hitter Rafael Palmeiro continued his struggles at the plate with an 0-for-4 night. He’s mired in a 17-for-98 slump over his last 26 games.
“I’m trying to figure out why I’m struggling against lefties, which I never have,” Palmeiro said. “I feel fine, I feel good. I’m sure a lot of it’s mental.”
Palmeiro, signed as a free agent during the offseason, brought a .291 lifetime batting average to Baltimore. But now he’s at .242 through 81 games.
“Right now he’s struggling. He knows that,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “He’s done it before, and he’ll get out of it. I’m sure it’s not the first time in his career he’s hit a bump in the road.”