BALTIMORE – In different ways, the Orioles thought they had a chance to win each of the three games against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend. In the end, they won none of them.
On Sunday with Matt Moore running his record to 8-0, the Orioles finished their worst week of the season, losing their fifth straight 3-1 to the Rays before 37,704 at Oriole Park.
It’s been almost a year since the Orioles (23-20) lost that many in a row. From May 26-June 1, 2012, they had a six-game skid.
“It’s a group that knows I have a lot of confidence in them,” manager Buck Showalter said. “They have a lot of pride, and they know reality.”
The reality is that the Orioles are now tied with Tampa Bay (23-20) for third place, 3 ½ games behind the New York Yankees, who come to town for a three-game series beginning Monday night.
New York’s game with Toronto was rained out, and as a result, the Orioles get to face CC Sabathia on Monday night. Freddy Garcia pitches for the Orioles.
“They’re going to come off and get after us. We have to come after them,” Adam Jones said. “He’s one of the game’s best pitchers. We’ve got a good lineup. Let’s go out there and attack him.”
Moore (8-0) effectively limited the Orioles to five hits in seven innings.
After the game, much of the talk centered on an interminable delay caused by a replay controversy in the sixth inning. Initially, Tampa Bay’s Matt Joyce was awarded a double. Showalter came to argue it was foul. Rays manager Joe Maddon wanted it called a home run.
After both managers discussed it with the umpires it came under review, and Joyce was given a home run that gave Tampa Bay a two-run lead.
“They got it right, so it certainly didn't affect the way the game ended up," Showalter said.
Chris Tillman retired the first eight batters before walking Yunel Escobar in the third. Desmond Jennings doubled to left, and the Rays led 1-0.
Manny Machado led off the fourth with a fly ball that Jennings nearly caught, but it went between him and Joyce in right for a triple. He scored on Jones’ single to tie the score at 1. Jones stole second and third, but couldn’t score.
"He didn't give us much. When you're got an opportunity to try and get into scoring position, you've got to,” Jones said.
Luke Scott hit a home run to the right-center field bleachers leading off the fourth for a 2-1 lead.
The good news was that Tillman (3-2) was just the second Orioles pitcher to work more than five innings in the last eight games. The bad news was that he threw 111 pitches in six innings, and that he didn’t win either of the two games. On Tuesday, he got a no-decision in seven innings of work.
Tillman allowed three runs on five hits, striking out four and walking one.
“I made a couple mistakes and they capitalized on it. They put some good swingson some pitches that I left up in the zone,” Tillman said.
The Orioles had a few chances to score additional runs off Moore. Danny Valencia, who was recalled from Norfolk before the game, doubled to lead off the third, but was stranded at third with one out. Jones was left there in the fourth, too. In the sixth, the Orioles had runners on first and second with one out, but again couldn’t capitalize.
In their defeat, the Orioles were just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Tillman seemed to believe his teammates could be pressing in their worst stretch of the season.
“I think it’s only normal to. I think in the situation that’s presenting itself it’d be normal for guys to. I think you can only expect it,” Tillman said.
In seven innings, Moore allowed the run on five hits, walked one and struck out three. Joel Peralta pitched a perfect eighth, and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances.
Nick Markakis, who said he couldn’t see whether Moore’s ball was foul, said he didn’t think the team was pressing.
“Every team is going to go through their losses, whether it’s five in a row, six, seven. It doesn’t make a difference. We know that we’re in a tough stretch right now. We’ve got to put it past us. Every team has gone through their troubles, and we’re in ours right now, and we’ve got to fight through it and move on,” Markakis said.
NOTES: J.J. Hardy’s hitting streak ended at 13 games.
-The Orioles hadn’t been swept in successive series since July 4-10, 2011 when they lost three games in Texas and four in Boston.