Rays denied series sweep, lose to Orioles 4-2
BALTIMORE (AP) — Jeremy Hellickson’s struggle on the mound aside, the Tampa Bay Rays headed home from Camden Yards with a feeling of satisfaction after taking two of three from the Baltimore Orioles.
Hellickson didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, allowing home runs to Chris Davis and Adam Jones in the Rays’ 4-2 loss Wednesday night.
In five starts since July 26, Hellickson (10-7) is 0-4 with an 8.06 ERA. In this one, the right-hander yielded four runs, seven hits and three walks in 4 1-3 innings.
“The main thing is just the command of all my pitches,” he said. “Other than that, I don’t know. I wish I could tell you. I’m just throwing way too many fastballs up in the zone and over the plate. And my off-speed stuff is not good enough to get me back into counts when I fall behind.”
Manager Joe Maddon said, “I just think the ball out of the hand is not the same. Normally, you can really see the ball jump out of a pitcher’s hand. Today was definitely not that. The location just wasn’t there.”
After beating the Orioles 4-3 and 7-2, the Rays scored only on solo homers by Jason Bourgeois and Sean Rodriguez. The defeat dropped Tampa Bay a game behind first-place Boston in the AL East.
Still, the Rays were quite content with winning two of three.
“When we left to come here, we would have signed up for that any day of the week,” Maddon said. “But when you win the first two, you definitely want all three.”
Davis hit his major league-leading 46th home run against Hellickson leading off the fifth inning. The drive landed on Eutaw Street beyond the 25-foot wall in right field and gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead.
Wei-Yin Chen (7-6) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings to help Baltimore win for only the third time in nine games. The left-hander was backed by three double plays, two of which he started.
Darren O’Day worked a perfect eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Wil Myers in the ninth before Brian Matusz walked pinch-hitter James Loney. Tommy Hunter then got two straight outs, and with runners on the corners, Kelly Johnson was thrown out trying to steal second.
“I felt like I had a great jump. I had a good lead,” Johnson said. “I thought all the odds were in my favor there. I would have bet the house I would steal that.”
Maddon said, “It’s really not a bad play. For us to get a couple more hits there at the bottom of the order is going to be very difficult so I’m not opposed to him trying to get into scoring position right there.”
It was Hunter’s fourth save.
The Orioles used a two-run first inning to take their first lead in the series. After Nate McLouth led off with a single to snap an 0-for-17 skid, Manny Machado singled and Davis walked to load the bases. Jones drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder, and Matt Wieters hit a sacrifice fly following a double steal.
Bourgeois hit a solo shot in second. It was his third career homer, the first since 2011 with Houston.
In the bottom half, the Orioles loaded the bases with two outs for Davis, who hit a routine fly to left.
Jones made it 3-1 in the third with his 26th home run, a drive to dead center that traveled an estimated 446 feet. Rodriguez answered in the fourth with his third homer, the first since May 26.
NOTES: The Orioles had lost five straight to Tampa Bay at Camden Yards. … Rays LHP Matt Moore, who has been on the DL since July 31 with a sore elbow, threw 59 pitches during a bullpen session Wednesday. He is slated to pitch a simulated game on Saturday. … Both teams are off Thursday. Tampa Bay resumes play Friday at home against the Yankees and the Orioles host Oakland, one of the teams they are chasing for a wild-card spot. Maddon said Chris Archer (6-5) would start Friday night. … Davis has 25 homers at Camden Yards this season, tied with Rafael Palmeiro for most in one year at the 22-year-old ballpark. The single-season record for homers in Baltimore is 27, by Frank Robinson at Memorial Stadium in 1966.