Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws during the fourth...

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Dean Kremer throws during the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Baltimore. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

BALTIMORE — In six games against baseball's top two teams, the Baltimore Orioles looked as though they belonged.

Dean Kremer pitched six scoreless innings and the Orioles edged the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday night. Baltimore took two of three in the series to pull within 4 1/2 games of Tampa Bay atop the AL East.

The Orioles went 3-3 over their past two series against the Rays and NL-leading Atlanta Braves, outscoring those teams 21-18.

“We played extremely well," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “The Atlanta series was a little bit of a bummer, honestly. We end up winning that first one and had opportunities to win the next two and didn't. But end up coming here and playing against these guys, who are very difficult to play against. ... We've pitched extremely well the last six games.”

Kremer (4-1) allowed four hits and the Orioles broke through for two runs in the sixth. After allowing a single and a double, Yonny Chirinos (1-1) committed a pitch clock violation with the count 3-1 on Ryan Mountcastle. That walk loaded the bases with nobody out.

Adam Frazier grounded into a forceout to score the game's first run, and Austin Hays followed with an RBI single.

Baltimore closer Félix Bautista threw 29 pitches in Tuesday night's win, but the Orioles were able to finish this game without him. Austin Voth got four outs before allowing Wander Franco's RBI single in the eighth. Danny Coulombe then struck out pinch-hitter Randy Arozarena and Harold Ramírez.

Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins takes a lead during the third...

Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins takes a lead during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Baltimore. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

Yennier Cano pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.

“We had some difficulties in Kansas City and kind of limped into Atlanta a little bit,” Hyde said. “Didn't pitch very well in Kansas City, and for this team to have success we need to pitch, and these last six games, like I said, we've thrown the ball outstanding.”

Kremer lowered his ERA to 4.97. After a rough start to the season, he's allowed one run over his past two starts against Atlanta and Tampa Bay. The Orioles won both games.

“Very pleased, regardless of who it's against,” Kremer said. “But I'm glad it's against teams of that caliber.”

Tampa Bay Rays' Harold Ramirez gestures after he singled during...

Tampa Bay Rays' Harold Ramirez gestures after he singled during the fourth inning of the team's baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday, May 10, 2023, in Baltimore. Credit: AP/Nick Wass

Jalen Beeks pitched the first two innings as the opener for the Rays, then Chirinos worked the next five.

Although Tampa Bay has earned a lot of attention for its torrid start, the Orioles are turning heads as well. Their 83-79 record last year was a 31-game improvement from 2021, and now they're 24-13 this season.

That's just one win short of the best 37-game start in team history, accomplished by the 1997, 1970 and 1969 Orioles. Those teams all won the AL East with at least 98 victories.

“I know you guys talked to us a lot in spring training about expectations. We were expecting this from ourselves — to come in and have a chance to win every night,” Hays said. “I think we’ve grown a lot these past couple years.”

FAMILY OCCASION

Hyde said he'll miss Saturday night's game against Pittsburgh to go to his daughter's graduation at Syracuse. Bench coach Fredi González will run the team in his absence.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow, on the injured list because of a left oblique strain, exited his start for Triple-A Durham after one inning with left side soreness.

UP NEXT

The Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York on Thursday night. Drew Rasmussen (3-2) starts for Tampa Bay against Domingo Germán (2-2).

Baltimore has Thursday off before hosting the Pirates. The Orioles send Kyle Bradish (1-1) to the mound Friday night against Johan Oviedo (2-3).

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This version has been corrected to show Chirinos allowed a single to start the bottom of the sixth, not a walk.

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Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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