BALTIMORE (AP) - Tampa Bay rookie Jeremy Hellickson had everything going for him as he took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles looking for his eighth win.
The right-hander was 6-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his previous seven starts. He was 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA lifetime against Baltimore.
Neither trend continued in the worst outing of Hellickson's major league career, and he didn't get his usual dose of offensive support either: The Rays mustered a season-low three hits in a 7-0 win on Friday night.
Hellickson (7-4) gave up five runs, a career high-tying seven hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings. The second pitch he threw was hit over the left-field wall by J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis added the clincher with a grand slam in the second inning.
``I just made a really bad pitch, and he made me pay for it,' Hellickson said of the hanging curve to Markakis. ``It was the only pitch I was upset with - and it's the biggest pitch of the game.'
Markakis had gone 88 at_bats without an extra-base hit since hitting a home run against Tampa Bay on May 15, and was mired in a 6-for-43 skid that dropped his batting average to .237.
He drove in two runs in the eighth off Andy Sonnanstine to establish a new career high with six RBIs. He had six RBIs in his previous 27 games.
Jake Arrieta (8-3) took a no-hitter into the sixth and ended up allowing two hits over seven innings.
``It was his day today,' said John Jaso, who went 0 for 3. ``He threw his pitches in hitters' counts. We were popping them up or hitting them right at somebody.'
Koji Uehara allowed one hit in the eighth and Mike Gonzalez worked a 30-pitch ninth to complete the three-hitter. It was the fewest hits Tampa Bay has mustered in a game this season.
In his previous 15 starts, Hellickson allowed more than three earned runs only once - four runs on April 17 against Minnesota. Not only did he yield more runs than ever before, but he also surrendered two homers in a game for the first time.
The one to Markakis, of course, hurt the most.
``One pitch,' manager Joe Maddon lamented. ``He wasn't sharp, but he got through it.'
There were few offensive highlights for the Rays, whose three-game winning streak ended. Tampa Bay had been averaging more than seven runs per game when Hellickson was on the mound, but the Rays were no match for Arrieta.
Johnny Damon led off the first inning with a walk, extending to 35 his career-high streak of games reaching base - the longest active run in the majors and two games short of Ben Grieve's club record (in 2001). But he was thrown out trying to steal second.
Arrieta struck out the side in the third. In the fourth, Ben Zobrist walked but was wiped out in a double play.
The Rays threatened in the sixth. After Sam Fuld broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff double, Justin Ruggiano got an infield hit and Reid Brignac popped out. Damon followed with a grounder up the middle that Arrieta tipped with his glove. Second baseman Robert Andino got the rebound with a backhanded grab and flipped the ball to shortstop Hardy, whose relay to first base completed the 1-4-6-3 double play.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 8 minutes. ... Rays RF Matt Joyce was a late scratch, one day after getting a cortisone shot in his left shoulder. ... Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria started for the first time since June 4. He was out with tightness in his left side and the flu. ... The Orioles recalled 1B Brandon Snyder from Triple-A Norfolk to fill in for Derrek Lee, who was placed on the bereavement list Thursday and is expected to miss the entire three-game series.
The Associated Press News Service
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