BALTIMORE (AP) — Nick Markakis broke a prolonged power slump with a grand slam and a two-run double, Jake Arrieta took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the surging Baltimore Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 7-0 Friday night.
J.J. Hardy hit his second leadoff homer for the Orioles, who have won four straight to get within a victory of .500 (31-32).
Hardy reached base all five trips to the plate and scored three runs.
Markakis’ third career slam, off rookie Jeremy Hellickson (7-4), put Baltimore up 5-0 in the second inning. 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 in RBIs with six. He had six RBIs in
his previous 27 games.
Arrieta (8-3) faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings, walking two, before Sam Fuld led off the sixth with a double. The right-hander ended up allowing two hits over seven innings and moved into a tie with Boston’s Jon Lester for the AL lead in wins.
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.
Hellickson gave up five runs, a career high-tying seven hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander was 6-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his previous seven starts and 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA lifetime against the Orioles, but neither trend continued in the worst outing of his big league career.
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.
Hellickson fell behind after throwing two pitches, the second one a hanging curveball that Hardy drove into the left-field seats.
In his first career start in the leadoff spot Tuesday, Hardy began the game with a home run against Oakland’s Guillermo Moscoso.
Baltimore pulled away in the second. After a walk to Luke Scott, a double by Mark Reynolds and two-out walk to Hardy loaded the bases, Markakis hit a breaking pitch over the 25-foot scoreboard in right field.
Hellickson had given up only one home run in his previous six starts.
There were few offensive highlights for the Rays, whose three-game winning streak ended.
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 base.
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 Fuld’s 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.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)