Orioles fall to Rays 3-1 in 1st loss when leading after 7
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Darren O'Day was the reliever responsible for Baltimore's first loss of the season when leading after seven innings.
Buck Showalter saw things a little differently, though, after Tampa Bay's 3-1 win Friday night.
''Darren's one of the best relief pitchers in baseball,'' the Orioles manager said. ''It's very easy to sit in an ivory tower and critique it, but the bottom line is we need to score runs.''
The sputtering Rays rallied after being limited to two hits over seven innings by Orioles starter Chris Tillman, who came within six outs of winning his sixth straight decision before walking Kevin Kiermaier leading off the eighth.
''We pieced together (a rally) to get a win off an extremely good reliever, arguably one of the better ones in the American League,'' manager Kevin Cash said after the Rays won for just the ninth time in 28 games. ''That's a credit to the guys. They've been scuffling.''
Tillman picked up where he left off from a stellar performance at Detroit last weekend, walking three and striking out four while frustrating Tampa Bay most of the night.
Chris Davis gave Tillman all the offensive support it looked like the right-hander might need with a RBI double in the fourth off All-Star Chris Archer (9-8), who allowed one run and five hits over six innings.
The Orioles were 39-0 when leading after seven innings, but couldn't finish the Rays, who were coming off losing two of three at Philadelphia, which has the worst record in the majors. Baltimore has lost four straight and 15 of 20.
''(Tillman) put us in a good spot and I didn't get my job done,'' said O'Day, who lost for the first time since Sept. 19, 2014. ''We needed a win so that's a tough one. It would have been a nice win tonight against one of the best pitchers in the American League.''
Tillman fanned the first two Rays and extended his streak to 28 consecutive hitters before walking David DeJesus with two outs in the second.
Longoria doubled down the right-field line for the first hit off the Tillman, who also walked Beckham before escaping a jam in the fourth. Kiermaier bunted for a single in the fifth, but was stranded when Rene Rivera struck out and Steven Souza Jr. grounded to third.
Tillman allowed two baserunners after the fifth, hitting Beckham with a pitch leading off the seventh. The Orioles turned an inning-ending double play to take the 1-0 lead into the eighth, when Tillman was replaced after the leadoff walk to Kiermaier.
Orioles: INF-OF Steve Pearce (strained left oblique), placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to July 19, had an MRI exam that showed inflammation. Showalter said it's iffy that Pearce will be ready when eligible to come off the DL early next month.
HIGH AND TIGHT
Tillman hit Beckham with a pitch leading off the seventh, so plate umpire John Tumpane warned both benches in the eighth when Colome plunked Manny Machado, the second batter the reliever faced. ''Nobody likes to get thrown at the head, but it wasn't intentional,'' Machado said.
LOOKING FOR A SPARK
In the wake of being swept by the Yankees, Showalter tinkered with his batting order. Machado batted third for the first time in his career, instead of his customary leadoff spot. He walked in the first and singled and scored from first on Davis' double in the fourth. He finished 2 for 2 and reached base four times.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) faces the Rays for the fourth time this season. He's allowed one run in 15 2-3 innings over the past two starts against Tampa Bay.
Rays: RHP Erasmo Ramirez (8-3) has all of his wins joining the rotation for good on May 14.