O's 'pen steps up, shows depth in 5 big frames

After Miley's early exit, 5 relievers combine to keep Baltimore in game

O's 'pen steps up, shows depth in 5 big frames

BALTIMORE -- On the day of Darren O'Day's return from the disabled list, the Orioles showcased the depth of their bullpen as they enter the final two weeks of the regular season.

In need of five innings after starter Wade Miley exited with a mild muscle strain in his back, five relievers stepped up to hold the Rays to just one run. The bullpen's performance kept the O's in the low-scoring game, setting the stage for Mark Trumbo's eighth-inning heroics in a 2-1 win over the Rays.

"It was essential; it was what we needed," Trumbo said of the bullpen after hitting his decisive homer. "A huge credit to our guys to give us a chance, especially kind of give us that nice momentum push going into the bottom of the eighth inning."

Trumbo's go-ahead smash

O'Day, Donnie Hart, Mychal Givens, Brad Brach and Zach Britton teamed up to throw one inning each, recording a combined eight strikeouts and occasionally pitching out of a key spot.

"Any time you have the starter go out in the fourth like that, especially when he's pitching so well, is tough," Brach said. "Everyone was able to step up and pitch their inning and just kind of pass it to the next guy, like we've been saying all year. You pitch your inning, and you pass your baton toward the guys in the back."

The Orioles 'pen, led by Britton's 45 saves and 0.59 ERA, has been a strength all season. But when O'Day, their typical setup man, was on the disabled list two different times, it limited the reliable options manager Buck Showalter could turn to.

With O'Day back -- he allowed the staff's lone run on a fifth-inning homer -- Showalter has five guys who have proven themselves.

"We had to do what we're paid to do -- go in there and put up zeros," O'Day said. "The guys have been doing a great job in my absence, and they'll continue to do so now that I'm back."

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.