Orioles offense absent again, lose fourth straight

Orioles offense absent again, lose fourth straight
September 22, 2013, 4:45 pm
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Orioles season on the line vs. the Rays

When the Orioles arrived in St. Petersburg, Fla. after 3 a.m. on Friday morning, they had no idea what an awful weekend awaited them.

The longest game in their history, an 18-inning loss that took nearly seven hours, a lackluster offensive performance on Saturday on little sleep, and today a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays that almost certainly finished any playoff hopes.

It’s a horrible time of year to lose four straight, especially when three of them are against one of the teams you’re chasing.

At a time of year the Orioles should be peaking, they’ve bottomed out. They’re seven games over .500 (81-74) for the first time since July 9, and have gone 19 straight games without scoring more than five runs for the first time since Sept. 1992.

And, they still have one game remaining at Tropicana Field, on Monday afternoon before they come home to finish out their season.

After taking four of their first five games of the road trip in Toronto and Boston, they’ve hit the offensive skids.

For the record, the Orioles now trail Cleveland, which currently holds the second wild-card spot by 4 ½ games with seven games to play.

Manny Machado led off with a single off Enny Romero, a 21-year-old making his major league debut, and they didn’t get another hit until two outs in the ninth.

Romero worked 4 2/3 innings, walking four. Brandon Gomes (3-1), Wesley Wright, Jamey Wright, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney held the Orioles off.

Scott Feldman (5-5) allowed three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out seven.

Feldman gave up a leadoff home run to David DeJesus in the first, and two more runs in the sixth. Matt Joyce’s sacrifice fly scored Sam Fuld and James Loney’s RBI single drove in Ben Zobrist to give Tampa Bay (86-69) a 3-0 lead.

Danny Valencia singled and scored on Matt Wieters’ double to prevent a shutout.