Rays given the cold shoulder by O's in Baltimore
Offense stumbles behind Odorizzi as club's skid reaches three straight
BALTIMORE -- A microcosm of the Rays' road trip took place in the seventh inning of Wednesday afternoon's 3-0 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
Wil Myers faced Zach Britton with two outs and the bases loaded when he connected against the Orioles left-hander and sent a ball deep down the left-field line. Unfortunately for Myers and the Rays, the ball drifted foul.
"Just a little out front," Myers said. "I put a good swing on it. That was one of the first good swings I've felt in the last few days."
The slugger then went down swinging. Six outs later, the Rays took their third shutout of the season and second of the road trip. And just like that, Tampa Bay had lost three straight to finish its road trip at 3-5 while moving to 7-8 on the season.
Myers is just one of many struggling Rays hitters. At the end of the day, the reigning American League Rookie of the Year was hitting just .200 for the season with no home runs and four RBIs.
"Any time you're going through any type of slump, it's discouraging," Myers said. "Especially coming up in a big situation for your team and not being able to get the job done, it's tough.
"I've been kind of going back and forth. Sometimes I take, sometimes I'm aggressive. Seems like either one I pick is going to be wrong at the time. It's just something you go through."
In their last nine games, the Rays have been outscored 37-14.
"It's been tough," Rays manager Joe Maddon said, noting that based on the pitches the Rays saw they could have expected a better outcome offensively. "We saw 153 pitches and didn't score any runs. That's really difficult to do. Because normally my benchmark has been 145-plus normally puts you in a pretty good position to win.
"We're seeing pitches, working good at-bats, hits are not forthcoming. You have to give their pitcher some credit. Their guy hung in there pretty well, too."
Their guy was Miguel Gonzalez, who started and picked up his first win of the season, allowing no runs on three hits and three walks while striking out six in five innings. Along the way, the right-hander received a major boost from right fielder Nick Markakis.
After three scoreless innings, the Rays threatened in the fourth, when James Loney drew a one-out walk off Gonzalez, moving to second on a wild pitch. Desmond Jennings followed with an infield single to put runners at first and second for David DeJesus.
DeJesus hit a shallow fly to right field that Markakis dove for to make a back-handed catch. He then got to his feet and threw a strike to second base to double up Loney for the inning-ending double play.
"I made some good pitches when I needed to, and we won the ballgame," Gonzalez said. "We got some great defense out there. I think Markakis in the fourth inning was good for us."
The Orioles got busy in the bottom half of the inning, when Rays starter Jake Odorizzi walked Nelson Cruz to start the frame. Chris Davis then singled to right before Adam Jones put a bunt down the third-base line for an infield single to load the bases.
Matt Wieters' sacrifice fly to center scored Cruz and J.J. Hardy grounded out to Odorizzi to score Davis, putting the Orioles up, 2-0.
Jones added another bunt single in the fifth -- this one a swinging bunt -- to drive in Ryan Flaherty for a 3-0 O's lead.
"The baseball gods were kind to [Jones]," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Usually when you do something real fundamentally sound, they kind of smile on you down the road."
Those same diamond gods were not smiling the same way on Odorizzi, who allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four to take his second loss of the season.
"Two balls that don't go 90 feet [Hardy's and Davis'] cost me two runs, but that inning I walked the leadoff guy, put myself in bad situations -- bases loaded two times in a row, so it all starts there," Odorizzi said.
Finishing a losing road trip on a losing note is not an uplifting experience, but Maddon managed to find a positive from the trip that saw the offense fizzle and Alex Cobb and Matt Moore head to the disabled list.
"It's almost like you're lucky that you won three," Maddon said. "Two 1-0 victories and a 2-1 win. It takes those kinds of victories to win championships. Regardless of some of the unfortunate things that have occurred, some really good things really have been in place. And to win those kinds of games in some tough venues is bully for us.
"So, tough trip, we'll get through it. And we'll get home and try to get well at home. But I'm not discouraged. To be in this position right now without any real sustained offense is actually kind of good."