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Halama packs in eight shutout innings

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- John Halama gave the Tampa Bay Devil
Rays the lift they needed to snap a five-game losing streak.

Halama allowed three hits over eight innings to lead the Devil
Rays to a 2-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

"It's not that hard to call a game when you got your 'A' game
out there as John had," Tampa Bay catcher Brook Fordyce said. "I
called the pitch and he could hit anything that he wanted.

"It was a great start for him. We needed this start because we
had a little tailspin there."

Rocco Baldelli hit an RBI double with two outs in the third
inning and scored on Aubrey Huff's single, for all the support the
left-hander needed.

Halama (5-3) was scheduled to start Sunday, but was moved up
after Mark Hendrickson felt neck stiffness Thursday. Halama struck
out three and retired 12 straight after allowing consecutive
one-out singles to Rafael Palmeiro and David Newhan in the second.

"I was just locating and getting ahead of hitters," Halama
said. "Keeping the ball down. An aggressive team like that, my
change-up played a big part of it."

Danys Baez completed the three-hitter for his 18th save in 20
opportunities.

"It's good to win," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "We
got just enough hitting, real good pitching and good solid
defense."

The Orioles have been held to six hits or less 11 times since
June 1.

"We have to keep going," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.
"You have to let things happen. You can't force it."

Erik Bedard (3-4) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3
innings.

"I didn't have my best stuff," Bedard said. "I did all
right."

Bedard had his start pushed back one day because his flight from
Canada was grounded by weather Wednesday. He lasted just three
innings -- allowing eight runs overall -- in each of two previous
starts against Tampa Bay this season.

Halama allowed just one base runner -- Palmeiro -- to reach
second.

"We need a well-pitched game and we got one," Piniella said.

It was Halama's longest outing since going eight innings for
Seattle against Boston on May 1, 2001. He hasn't had a complete
game since recording the second of his career on May 17, 2000,
against Minnesota while with the Mariners.

"Could have I gone out there? Yes," Halama said of possibly
pitching the ninth. "But we got Danys ready and he hasn't pitched
in a while. It's a save situation. That's what he gets paid for."

After Brian Roberts singled with one out in the sixth for
Baltimore's third hit, Halama then retired his final eight hitters.

"That was as well a pitched game as you can get" Fordyce said.
"You wouldn't ask for anything more."

Miguel Tejada drew a walk with two outs in the ninth from Baez
and went to second on defensive indifference. Baez preserved the
shutout by striking out Javy Lopez.

Game notes
Newhan extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has a
hit in 24 of 25 games -- including all 23 starts -- since signing
with Baltimore on June 18. ... Hendrickson is scheduled to pitch
Sunday. ... Fordyce went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. He is hitless
in 15 at-bats. ... The Orioles (38-49) are 9-20 when the opposition
starts a left-handed pitcher. ... Baldelli went 3-for-4. He was
awarded a single in the fifth when his grounder hit teammate Damian
Rolls, who was running from first toward second base.