It was the most painful day for the Orioles imaginable.
They lost their star third baseman Manny Machado, who injured his left knee when he ran over first base in the seventh inning and lost the game when James Loney hit a ninth-inning home run.
The 5-4 defeat to the Tampa Bay Rays was the Orioles’ fifth straight, and puts them to the brink of elimination in the wild-card race.
Machado, who had played in every game this season, ran over first base and then collapsed in pain. He’s played 207 consecutive games since his Aug. 9, 2012 recall.
The 21-year-old third baseman was placed on a stretcher and taken off the field. After the game, manager Buck Showalter said that Machado would return to Baltimore with the team and be examined by doctors there.
Loney’s home run off Tommy Hunter (6-5) was the crusher.
The Orioles (81-75) are trailing Cleveland by five games for the second wild-card spot with six to play.
Joel Peralta (3-8) was the winner for Tampa Bay (87-69).
Chris Davis hit a two-run home run, his 52nd and J.J. Hardy had an RBI single off Chris Archer in a three-run third as the Orioles took a 3-1 lead.
Tampa Bay scored a run on Tim Beckham’s sacrifice fly in the second off Wei-Yin Chen.
The Rays made it 3-2 in the fourth when Jose Molina’s double scored Beckham.
Chen, who has won just once in 10 starts, allowed two runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Brian Roberts’ sixth home run of the year, leading off the fifth gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
After Machado’s injury, Alexi Casilla pinch-ran for him, but he was tagged out when he tried to score from second on Nick Markakis’ single.
Casilla nearly made a spectacular diving catch on Wil Myers’ flare in short right field in the bottom of the seventh after Tampa Bay loaded the bases. He and Markakis collided, the ball fell, and two runs scored to tie the score at 4.
Matt Wieters led off the top of the eighth and he hit a drive off the left field wall. He was thrown out at third trying for a triple. Nate McLouth bunted past the pitcher and into the outfield for a bizarre double.
Casilla left the game after the seventh and was replaced at second by Ryan Flaherty, who had moved to third after Machado’s injury. Danny Valencia played third.
Showalter said that Casilla would likely stay overnight in St. Petersburg, Fla. to be examined.