St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Steve Pearce broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the fifth and Nelson Cruz crushed his major league- leading 22nd homer of the season, as the Orioles defeated the Rays, 2-0, at Tropicana Field on Wednesday afternoon.
Kevin Gausman (3-1) got the win, tossing six innings of five-hit shutout ball. He struck out five and walked one to win his third straight start. The right- hander has been stellar over that period, yielding only two runs in 19 innings.
"His main pitch is the fastball. When he commands that pitch, he's unbelievable, like today," Cruz said of Gausman.
Pearce and J.J. Hardy had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who took two of three from the Rays.
Alex Cobb (2-5) was the tough-luck loser for Tampa, which has dropped two in a row. The right-hander allowed one unearned run on four hits over seven frames. He struck out six and walked four.
The Orioles finally broke the scoreboard in the fifth and did so thanks to a two-out fielding error by Ben Zobrist at second base. The miscue allowed Nick Markakis to reach base and then score when Pearce followed with a double.
The unearned run didn't faze Cobb, who cruised through the rest of his afternoon. However, the Rays' bullpen had a hiccup in the eighth as Cruz greeted reliever Kirby Yates with a solo homer to double the lead.
The Baltimore bullpen of Tommy Hunter and Zach Britton combined to work the final three innings. Britton tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his ninth save of the season.
"We just didn't hit," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "How many times have I had to say that this year?"
Cruz's RBI gives him 58 for the season, moving him one ahead of Miami's Giancarlo Stanton for the lead in the majors ... Tampa committed two errors in the game, both in the fifth inning ... The Rays have been shutout 11 times this season.