Of the nine times the Baltimore Orioles were shut out prior to being blanked in their series opener at Tampa Bay, only once did they fail to win the next time out.
Looking to continue that successful trend Saturday, the Orioles try to avoid a season-high fifth straight road defeat and finally get the best of the Rays' Drew Smyly.Baltimore (82-58) averaged 6.1 runs on a 9-2 homestand it began by taking three of four from Tampa Bay. However, the Orioles were held to six hits Friday as the Rays (68-74) scored the game's only runs in the eighth to hand the AL East leaders a 3-0 defeat."Our pitching shut down a really good offensive ballclub," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.The only time Baltimore didn't follow being shut out with a win, came when it fell 1-0 at Kansas City on May 17 and 8-6 the next night. The Orioles have outscored their opponents 33-18 while going 8-1 in games immediately following a shutout.Alex Cobb and two relievers combined to strike out 11 and help the Rays record their AL-best 19th shutout of the season and seventh win in 20 games.Smyly (9-10, 3.31 ERA) gave up a homer to Adam Jones and struck out seven in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 4-1 win at Camden Yards while with Detroit on May 13. He then yielded a second-inning home run to Chris Davis and one other hit in seven innings of a 3-1 victory at Baltimore on Aug. 27.The left-hander also pitched three scoreless innings of relief against the Orioles on April 4."Certainly, the future looks bright for him and Tampa having him in the rotation," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll see what baseball longevity has to say. He obviously has a chance to be a good one. Already is."Smyly allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 3-0 loss at Oakland in his Tampa Bay debut Aug. 5, but has given up five runs -- four on three homers -- and 14 hits over 36 1/3 innings while going 3-0 in the next five outings. He yielded two runs and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-3, 10-inning victory over Boston on Monday.Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.93) gave up three runs and six hits in four innings against Smyly and the Rays on Aug. 27.The right-hander then allowed five runs with seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings of a 6-4 loss to Minnesota on Monday to drop his third straight start. He was 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in five outings prior to the three-start skid.Though Jones and Davis homered off Smyly this season, they're 3 for 17 combined against him.Jones, who had two hits Friday, is batting .394 in his last nine games versus Tampa Bay.Yunel Escobar, who also recorded two hits in the opener after going 2 for 22 in his previous seven contests, is 5 for 7 versus Gausman.Ben Zobrist is 6 for 10 with three doubles against him.