Hot start now a memory, Orioles struggle to score runs
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles have suddenly found scoring runs difficult.
Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles 3-1 on Tuesday night.
The Orioles, who have lost eight of 12 since starting the season 7-0, have scored just once over their last 26 innings.
Tampa Bay's defense played a role in keeping the Baltimore bats quiet. The Rays turned three double plays and got a leaping catch in center by Kiermaier to take away an extra-base hit from Adam Jones in the first.
"I think the key to the game was their defense," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We hit four balls on the button that they defended."
After Steven Souza Jr. had a two-out single in the sixth, Kiermaier put the Rays up 3-1 on his two-run shot off Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2).
"I had some frustrating at-bats earlier in the game, I think a lot of us did," Kiermaier said. "For me to hit a pitch out right there was big for our team. This is a crazy game. That's why we play nine innings."
Tampa Bay has won three in a row, with 11 of its 13 runs over the stretch coming with two outs.
Reliever Enny Romero (1-0) gave up a hit in one-plus innings for his first major league win. Alex Colome got the final two outs to get his fifth save.
Jimenez allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
"We'll take that type of competitive outing on the road," Showalter said.
Jimenez is 4-2 in six starts against the Rays.
"Every inning I've had to work really hard to get out of the inning, but I've been able to battle," Jimenez said.
The Rays threatened in each of the first three innings but managed just a 1-0 lead on Desmond Jennings' bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third. Tampa Bay went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position during the stretch and were hitless in 10 at-bats in the situation overall.
Baltimore snapped a 20-inning scoring drought to tie it at 1 on Mark Trumbo's RBI single in the fourth. TheOrioles wasted a chance for a big inning when Jonathan Schoop hit a pop fly and Caleb Joseph grounded into a double play against Jake Odorizzi with the bases loaded.
"We had their guy on the ropes and we just didn't execute," Joseph said. "We needed to score some runs to take some pressure off Ubaldo. We've got to execute better in that situation, and more times than not this season we have. But we've got to get multiple runs in that situation."
Odorizzi allowed one run and seven hits in five innings.
Erasmo Ramirez got a pair of double plays over two innings and Xavier Cedeno retired Chris Davis on a pop fly to start the ninth before Colome finished up.
Trumbo extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a second-inning single. His career high is 12, set last season.
Orioles: INF-OF Jimmy Paredes (left wrist) started a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie and went 0 for 3 with a walk.
Orioles 3B Manny Machado, who started the season with a 16-game hitting streak, is hitless in his last 13 at-bats. ... Schoop has no hits in his last 11 at-bats.
Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (1-1) and Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore (1-1) are the scheduled starters for Wednesday night's series finale. This is the eighth consecutive series between the teams that Tillman will have a start. Tillman is 2-3 and didn't factor in the decision in the other two games, both won by the Rays.