The Washington Post

Lyles falters, and the O’s hit the break right at .500


st. petersburg, fla. — Jordan Lyles prides himself on pitching deep into games to pick up the Baltimore Orioles and their bullpen. In Sunday’s first-half finale at Tropicana Field, his teammates couldn’t completely return the favor after his shortest start with Baltimore.

The Tampa Bay Rays knocked out Lyles in the third inning, scoring in each of his frames to build a six-run lead in what ended as a 7-5 loss for the Orioles, their 17th defeat in their past 19 games in St. Petersburg. Baltimore has dropped 14 straight road series against Tampa Bay, a drought that began in June 2017.

Sunday’s defeat cost the Orioles (46-46) a winning first half, though being .500 at the all-star break is certainly an accomplish­ment given how they were expected to perform entering the fourth full season of their rebuild.

Lyles put the Orioles in a hole early. After hitting Harold Ramírez with a pitch that broke his right thumb, Lyles allowed a home run to Randy Arozarena, his 13th in 30 career games against Baltimore. A walk to Brett Phillips to begin the second became a run when Josh Lowe doubled him home with two outs. Then in the third, Lyles surrendere­d a threerun home run to Phillips, his first long ball since May 17.

It was Lyles’s shortest outing in 47 appearance­s and the first time he failed to pitch into the fifth in 19 starts for Baltimore.

The Orioles got RBI singles from Adley Rutschman and Ramón Urías in the fourth and a two-run homer from Rougned Odor in the sixth, but Francisco Mejía homered on Keegan Akin’s first pitch of the bottom half.

Austin Hays went deep in the eighth for Baltimore’s final run.

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