BALTIMORE — A month ago, it was fair to wonder whether John Means would even have a start he felt good about this season, let alone pitch like the All-Star he was last year.
Now, it’s worth wondering if he’s ever been better.
Means turned in the Orioles’ best start of a season that increasingly has plenty of candidates for that distinction, striking out a career-high 12 batters and tying a franchise record with seven straight strikeouts at one point in a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that prevented a five-game series sweep in Sunday’s home finale at Camden Yards.
“That was one of his better performances I’ve seen from him here in a year-plus,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Thought he had four pitches working. I thought he was aggressive in the strike zone. … Just a great job of pitching. I thought we pitched well all series.