Rays blank O's in 'away' game at the Trop

Rays blank O's in 'away' game at the Trop

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays were technically the road team, but they looked right at home Friday night.

Tampa Bay used a solid return from starter Alex Colome and a pair of fourth-inning runs to top the Orioles, 2-0, in the series opener that was shifted from Camden Yards due to unrest in Baltimore.

Evan Longoria and James Loney each drove in a run off O's starter Chris Tillman, who went seven innings and turned in a quality start despite the loss. Colome, making his first start back from the disabled list, went five scoreless frames and struck out six.

"This was a really nice day for me," said Colome moments after the game. "[I had] control of my fastball, of all my pitches. I felt like I could throw one or two more innings, but in my first outing, they wanted to take care of me. It was important to have good location. Every day I work with my slider and my curveball."

Colome in control: Colome hadn't pitched since September of last year but appeared to be in midseason form as he mowed down a powerful Oriole lineup with a mid-90s fastball, an elusive slider, a sharp-breaking curve and an occasional changeup. The highlight of Colome's performance was a 1-2-3 fourth inning that saw the 26-year-old right-hander strike out Adam Jones with a curveball, Chris Davis with a fastball and Steve Pearce with a slider. Colome fanned six Orioles on the night without issuing a walk.

Colome's strong season debut

"Can't say enough about what he did. He gave us five very strong innings. First start back, he looked pretty dominant, for sure," said Rays manager Kevin Cash of Colome's outing. More >

Walk and roll: Tillman retired 11 in a row to start the game before a two-out walk to Asdrubal Cabrera in the fourth inning opened the door to a two-run Rays rally that provided all the run support they would need. Longoria's double plated a hard-charging Cabrera with the Rays' first run, and Loney followed with a 3-2 single to left, bringing home Longoria to make it 2-0.

Loney's RBI single

"Cabby probably hasn't got off to the start that he would have wanted, but the way he impacted us tonight with that at-bat? That was everything. You could argue that it was probably the biggest at-bat of the game," Cash said.

For Tillman, it was a nice rebound outing after allowing seven runs over 4 1/3 innings on April 23.

Tillman's strong start

"It was better. Still got work to do," he said. " I'd like to have command of the offside pitches earlier in the game. I was able to get by with my fastball, but I feel like I'd be a little bit better off with my offspeed command."

Bats go missing: Baltimore's offense, which scored 26 runs in its previous two games, was held to just four singles all night. The Orioles didn't draw a walk and were never able to get anything going at the plate.

"I think what took a toll is they pitched real well, and it's something they've been doing real well here," manager Buck Showalter said when asked if his team was feeling the effects of a draining few days. "This, probably as much as any club I've had, excuses aren't in their repertoire. They'll tip their hat, but they'll be frustrated by it."

Dome sweet dome? The Orioles wore their traditional home Friday night black jerseys and hit second in an unusual showing in front of a "home" crowd of 9,945 at Tropicana Field. They kept the visitors dugout for the game, with the in-game entertainment as neutral as possible. There was, however, Camden Yards' traditional "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" song played during the seventh inning stretch, adding a hint of normalcy in a wacky series.

"This one, the only difference was the uniforms and hitting second. I don't think it affected us as much as the one [game on Wednesday]," catcher Caleb Joseph said of the O's adjustments. "That one was really weird, with nobody being in the stands. But with people in the stands and being here, we come here quite a bit, so it was just batting second was really the only difference." More >

"We are getting there. I think it will be more so … you know, what's normal? What's normal in a baseball season? We've played games at 11:15 at night at Yankee Stadium. If you're constantly looking for normal, you are in the wrong profession. So many convenient excuses and, the world we live in, you can't go there." -- Showalter, on his team returning to normal

The Rays and Orioles are now deadlocked after 300 regular-season matchups, with both clubs having recorded 150 victories in 17-plus seasons of play.

Infielders J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty both took batting practice with the Orioles before Friday's game. The hope is the pair will feel good enough over the weekend to go out on rehab assignment Monday with Double-A. Rays reliever Jake McGee made his second rehab start for Class A Advanced Charlotte Friday night, allowing no hits, striking out one and issuing two walks in one inning of work.

Rays: Chris Archer (3-2, 0.84 ERA) will take the ball for the "visiting" Rays when the series resumes at Tropicana Field on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. In four starts since his Opening Day loss to the Orioles, Archer has been brilliant, allowing no earned runs and 12 hits in 26 2/3 innings with 32 strikeouts.

Orioles: Baltimore will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound for the second game of the series. Gonzalez, like the rest of the O's rotation, had his start pushed back due to a pair of postponements earlier in the week.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.