Halama allowed three hits over eight innings to lead the Devil Rays to a 2-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
“It’s not that hard to call a game when you got your ‘A’ game out there as John had,” Tampa Bay catcher Brook Fordyce said. “I called the pitch and he could hit anything that he wanted.
“It was a great start for him. We needed this start because we had a little tailspin there.”
Halama (5-3) was scheduled to start Sunday, but was moved up after Mark Hendrickson felt neck stiffness Thursday. Halama struck out three and retired 12 straight after allowing consecutive one-out singles to Rafael Palmeiro and David Newhan in the second.
“I was just locating and getting ahead of hitters,” Halama said. “Keeping the ball down. An aggressive team like that, my change-up played a big part of it.”
Danys Baez completed the three-hitter for his 18th save in 20 opportunities.
“It’s good to win,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We got just enough hitting, real good pitching and good solid defense.”
The Orioles have been held to six hits or less 11 times since June 1.
“We have to keep going,” Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. “You have to let things happen. You can’t force it.”
Erik Bedard (3-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
“I didn’t have my best stuff,” Bedard said. “I did all right.”
Bedard had his start pushed back one day because his flight from Canada was grounded by weather Wednesday. He lasted just three innings—allowing eight runs overall—in each of two previous starts against Tampa Bay this season.
Halama allowed just one base runner—Palmeiro—to reach second.
“We need a well-pitched game and we got one,” Piniella said.
It was Halama’s longest outing since going eight innings for Seattle against Boston on May 1, 2001. He hasn’t had a complete game since recording the second of his career on May 17, 2000, against Minnesota while with the Mariners.
“Could have I gone out there? Yes,” Halama said of possibly pitching the ninth. “But we got Danys ready and he hasn’t pitched in a while. It’s a save situation. That’s what he gets paid for.”
After Brian Roberts singled with one out in the sixth for Baltimore’s third hit, Halama then retired his final eight hitters.
“That was as well a pitched game as you can get” Fordyce said. “You wouldn’t ask for anything more.”
Newhan extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has a hit in 24 of 25 games—including all 23 starts—since signing with Baltimore on June 18. … Hendrickson is scheduled to pitch Sunday. … Fordyce went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is hitless in 15 at-bats. … The Orioles (38-49) are 9-20 when the opposition starts a left-handed pitcher. … Baldelli went 3-for-4. He was awarded a single in the fifth when his grounder hit teammate Damian Rolls, who was running from first toward second base.