Hellickson outdueled in Rays’ loss to Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A late error cost the Tampa Bay Rays in a one-run loss.

Brian Matuz gave up two hits in 7 1-3 innings and the Baltimore Orioles ended a six-game losing streak by holding off the Rays 2-1 Saturday.

Baltimore broke a 1-all tie in the seventh. Mark Reynolds, who had doubled, scored with two outs when third baseman Drew Sutton made a wild throw to first on Robert Andino’s grounder. Ben Zobrist tracked down Sutton’s bad throw in right field and threw out Ryan Flaherty, who also tried to score on the play.

“I rushed it,” Sutton said. “I didn’t know how much time I had. I just kind of spiked it. It didn’t work out.”

Tampa Bay made two errors Saturday, and have 23 over the last 20 games.

“We’re making too many mistakes out there,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays have dropped five of seven, and are 5-10 in their last 15 home games.

“They played better than us,” Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena said. “That’s why they won.”

Matusz (5-5) didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning. He struck out seven and walked three.

Reliever Pedro Strop got Zobrist to ground into a bases-loaded double play in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 17th save, completing the combined two-hitter.

“Unfortunately Zoe hits the ball right at the second baseman,” Maddon said.

Zobrist has just eight hits in his last 55 at-bats.

Zobrist made a couple nice catches, including a diving effort to take away a leadoff hit from Flaherty in the fifth.

Endy Chavez, mired in a 3-for-35 slide, put the Orioles ahead 1-0 in the third with a home run off Jeremy Hellickson (4-2). It was Chavez’s first homer since last Aug. 9 against Seattle.

“Both pitchers pitched great,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

Elliot Johnson reached with one out in the Rays eighth when Reynolds misplayed a grounder for an error. After Matusz walked Pena, Strop relieved.

Strop’s wild pitch moved up the runners and B.J. Upton walked to load the bases. But Strop worked out of the jam by getting a double-play grounder from Zobrist.

“We’ve faced good people, but we have to score more runs,” Maddon said.

Hellickson gave up four hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and walked one.

“I had command of everything and I felt really good,” Hellickson said. “I threw a lot of strikes and didn’t get deep into counts.”

Sean Rodriguez got the Rays’ first hit, a double to start the fifth. He later scored the tying run on Sutton’s grounder.

NOTES: Matusz is 5-2 in eight overall starts against Tampa Bay. … Hellickson has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of 11 starts this season. … Baltimore acquired OF-1B Steve Pearce from the New York Yankees for cash and designated INF-OF Bill Hall for assignment. … Maddon said RF Matt Joyce was out of the lineup because he is under the weather. … The two hits were the Rays’ lowest since being one-hit by Seattle last July 30 by Seattle.