BALTIMORE (AP)—They came to see Cal Ripken Jr. After cheering the Iron Man, they saved some applause for a pitcher who hadn’t won a game in more than a month.
The start of the game was delayed by 35 minutes because of the Orioles’ tribute to Ripken, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. The celebration concluded with Ripken throwing the ceremonial first pitch to former Oriole Eddie Murray, who was inducted into the Hall in 2003.
Lured by the send-off and a Ripken bobblehead giveaway, the game drew 42,579 — the largest crowd at Camden Yards since opening day.
The throng motivated the Orioles, who improved to 23-22 at home.
“It’s nice to have so many fans in the ballpark. And the reason and the purpose they were here was all for the right reasons, with what Cal Ripken has done and what he’s meant to the Orioles and major league ball,” Baltimore interim manager Dave Trembley said.
Cabrera (7-10) walked five and struck out three. The lone hit against him came in the fourth inning, when B.J. Upton bounced a hit-and-run single to right through the hole vacated by second baseman Brian Roberts.
Backed by three double plays, Cabrera improved to 5-0 lifetime against the Devil Rays. He was 0-2 in five starts since June 22, but on this night the right-hander played to the crowd.
“You feel more energy and more excitement,” he said.
Whatever it was, it was too much for the Devil Rays. After getting pounded into submission by the New York Yankees over three straight games by a collective 45-12 score, Tampa Bay fell victim to an overpowering pitching performance.
“Their guy pitched well. That’s what it was all about,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “He was throwing the ball down and he wasn’t all over the place like I’ve seen him in the past. He was pounding the zone down. He didn’t throw a lot of breaking balls, but he was able to bring it into play when he was behind in the count.”
Paul Shuey worked the eighth, getting a double play after giving up a leadoff walk, and Jamie Walker gave up a two-out double to Upton in the ninth before completing the two-hitter and earning his second save.
Kazmir (7-7) struck out eight, but gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander had won his past two starts while allowing a total of one earned run.
He was effective in this one, too. But Cabrera was better.
“That’s really what bums us out more than anything, to see him go out there and pitch an outstanding game. We consider ourselves a pretty good hitting team and we could not score runs,” Devil Rays first baseman Carlos Pena said. “That’s what really hurts the most—knowing how well he pitched and not being able to get that win for him.”
Tampa Bay has lost seven in a row in Baltimore and is 5-21 overall since June 25.
Baltimore took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, immediately after Kazmir complained about a hole in the front of the mound that was repaired after a short delay.
Nick Markakis singled on Kazmir’s first pitch and, with one out, took off for second. Ramon Hernandez hit a grounder to shortstop Brendan Harris, who had no choice but to throw to first. Aubrey Huff, who struck out his first two times at-bat, followed with an opposite-field RBI single to left.
Baltimore made it 3-0 in the seventh. With two outs and runner on first, Kazmir issued three straight walks, the last to Kevin Millar, to force in a run. Juan Salas entered and walked Hernandez to bring home another run.
Salas, who was suspended May 7 for 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, rejoined the Devil Rays on Tuesday after being recalled from Triple-A Durham.
Cabrera faced the minimum nine batters through the first three innings. In the fourth, Carl Crawford walked with one out and took third on a single by Upton. But Pena followed with a popup and Delmon Young grounded out.
Baltimore didn’t get a runner past first base until the fifth, when two singles and an error loaded the bases with one out. Kazmir then retired Roberts on a short fly ball and struck out Corey Patterson.
Crawford hit into his eighth double play, matching his total of all of last year. … Baltimore improved to 6-1 against Tampa Bay this season. … It was Baltimore’s second straight shutout and seventh of the year.