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Rays offense goes silent in shutout loss to Kyle Bradish, Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG — Getting his second shot at the Orioles in eight days, Taj Bradley was much better Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Rays right-hander, Baltimore righty Kyle Bradish was better, too.

And Tampa Bay’s offense couldn’t have been much worse.

Bradish and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout as the Orioles blanked the Rays 5-0 in front of an announced 20,485 at Tropicana Field.

The Rays (31-33) have lost back-to-back games after a three-game winning streak, and dropped four of five to the Orioles (41-22) this season.

It was the fourth time this season the Rays have been shut out, all at home.

Rays manager Kevin Cash credited Bradish, who allowed a Yandy Diaz dribbler to third base to start the game and then retired 18 straight hitters. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter over six innings.

“He was really tough,” Cash said. “I mean, we know how talented that group is over there. We know how talented Bradish is, for sure. And he had everything going (Saturday).”

The Rays did not get another hit until they were down to their last out in the ninth inning, when Diaz’s line drive went off the glove of Orioles second baseman Jordan Westburg into centerfield for a single.

Rays hitters struck out 14 times, second-most in a game this season. Their two hits were their fewest since a May 29, 2023 loss to the Cubs.

While this was a particularly low point, the Rays offense has struggled all season. Tampa Bay’s 49 home runs are the fewest in the majors, and its team OPS (.662) following the game was better than only the White Sox in the American League.

“We’ve really just got to dig deep at this point,” rightfielder Josh Lowe said. “It seems like we play three, four or five games in a row that go our way and go pretty well, and then we go out there and run into a game like this. At the end of the day, there’s no excuse for who’s on the mound against us. We’ve got to go out there, and we’ve got to take initiative ourselves and have good at-bats and put it all together.

“I think we have the guys in the clubhouse to do this. I think everybody else here wants to win. We want to play well. This sucks, going through stuff like this, but we’ve just got to take it upon ourselves to go out there and have one good at-bat at a time and pass it on to the next guy.”

Bradley, who allowed a career-high nine runs on nine hits, including four home runs, in his last start, was dominant himself Saturday. He allowed only one run over five innings, Ryan O’Hearn’s solo homer in the fourth. He gave up just two more hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Bradley generated 18 swings and misses, the second-most of his career. He became the third Rays pitcher this season to produce at least 18 swings and misses in a game, joining Ryan Pepiot and Zack Littell.

“For me, I just felt like I made better pitches,” Bradley said. “Like, I used all four and just kept using them consistently and was just able to be in the zone.”

Bradley kept the Rays in the game, but the bullpen couldn’t hold them there, yielding four runs.

Jordan Westburg’s triple off the glove of Jose Siri drove home a run against Jason Adam in the eighth. In the ninth, Phil Maton gave up a leadoff single to Connor Norby and a walk to No. 9 hitter Cedric Mullins. He then fell behind 3-0 to Gunnar Henderson, who made him pay with a three-run homer.

The Rays have scored three or fewer runs in three of their past seven games, and their offense is averaging less than four runs per game (3.9) for the season.

“We’ve been pitched tough,” Cash said. “I felt like we did some good things in Miami where we had some big innings. But this offense no doubt is capable of more. We’ve just got to get it going somehow and have some better at-bats and put some more pressure on pitchers.”

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