BALTIMORE (AP) -- Erik Bedard was in control from the start.
Bedard pitched five-hit ball for eight innings to lead the Baltimore Orioles to their season-high sixth straight victory, 5-0 over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday night."I threw it where I wanted to and I threw strikes," said Bedard, who has a 15-inning scoreless streak. "I got quick outs early, I got on a roll and that's it."Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella watched from the press box at Camden Yards as he began serving a three-game suspension for his team's involvement in two bench-clearing scuffles in a game against Boston on April 24. Bench coach John McLaren ran Tampa Bay."It was a different seat," Piniella said.Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Javy Lopez homered as Baltimore dealt the Devil Rays their season-worst fifth consecutive loss. The Orioles have homered in 15 of 17 games and their 32 homers are one behind league-leading Texas.Tampa Bay is 1-8 on the road."Hopefully, we'll turn it around soon," Devil Rays center fielder Carl Crawford said. "The only place we can go is up. We're at the bottom right now."Bedard (2-1) retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced, allowing only a two-out single to Nick Green in the third. He walked none for the first time in 31 career starts and struck out seven overall."One of the better pitching performances we've seen this year," McLaren said. "He was outstanding. We couldn't get anything going against him."Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli was impressed with the 18 first-pitch strikes Bedard threw and the way the left-hander got the first hitter out in each of the first five innings."Hitters don't look for the same pitch when they're behind in the count," Mazzilli said. "They can't. They've got to be aggressive."Jorge Julio gave up a hit in the ninth but finished the Orioles' second shutout of the season and first since Opening Day against Oakland.Baltimore jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Hideo Nomo (2-3) in the first inning.Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora singled, moved up on a double steal and scored when Tejada hit a 3-1 Nomo pitch over the wall in center. Before hitting his seventh homer of the year, Tejada was 1-for-11 in his career against the right-hander."When your pitcher goes out in the first inning and throws up a zero, it helps," said Roberts, who had three hits to raise his average to a team-high .385. "We feel pretty confident that we can put the pressure on them."Gibbons made it 4-0 in the fourth with a one-out solo shot to right field. Lopez lined a 2-0 pitch into the left field seats in the sixth.Nomo, who has two of the four wins by Tampa Bay starters, went 6 1/3 innings. He allowed five runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out three.
Baltimore is 13-4 against AL East opponents. ... The Orioles' winning streak is their longest since an eight-game binge last Aug. 3-10. Baltimore is eight games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 24, 1998. ... Green started at second base, his first appearance there after 10 games at third base. After going 1-for-3, he has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats. ... Nomo has allowed a homer in four of his five starts.