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Rays lose to Orioles, wrap up rough road trip

BALTIMORE — So much of the Rays' 10-day road trip was about loss.

Two top starting pitchers, Alex Cobb and Matt Moore, were knocked out of the rotation with injuries. A glaring lack of offense took away most of their momentum — and some of their confidence — from a promising opening week. And a 3-0 defeat to the Orioles in Wednesday's matinee ended their trying trip at 3-5 and sent them home with a losing record overall at 7-8.

"Definitely it was a tough one," leftfielder David DeJesus said. "We're happy that it's over now. It could have been a lot worse than it was."

Manager Joe Maddon had similar thoughts as he climbed the stairs back to the warm clubhouse, recounting that two of their wins on the trip were by 1-0 and the other 2-1.

"It's almost like you're lucky that you won three," he said.

And while there are intangible and intrinsic benefits to those type of victories, which Maddon made sure to point out, the bigger issue is that the combination of injured pitchers and impotent bats is definitely a problem.

How much? In the eight games against the Royals, Reds and Orioles, the Rays were outscored 34-14.

"Tough trip, but we'll get through it, get on home and try to get well at home," Maddon said. "I'm not discouraged. To be in this position without any real sustained offense is actually kind of good.

"We're going to continue to pitch well and the ball is going to start finding some holes or resting comfortably in the outfield grass and not be caught. It's just going to happen."

Wednesday's game — with a first-pitch temperature of 39 and in-game high of 46 — proved illustrative of how things are going for them.

When the Rays had chances, they seemed to just miss.

In the fourth, they had two on with one out when DeJesus laced a ball to right, but Baltimore's Nick Markakis made a dazzling diving catch, then doubled James Loney off second.

And in the seventh they had the bases loaded and Wil Myers crushed a ball foul — a grand slam if fair — then struck out.

The Orioles, meanwhile, made things happen, taking advantage of a pair of leadoff walks from Jake Odorizzi to score two in the fourth and one in the fifth, with runs scoring on two balls that didn't go a combined 100 feet.

Odorizzi mishandled J.J. Hardy's slow roller toward first and had to settle for an out at first instead of going home in the fourth, and Adam Jones' swinging bunt stopped halfway up the third-base line just inside the chalk to score another.

"That's the way this game goes sometimes," Maddon said.

Odorizzi, properly, took the blame, as much as anything for the leadoff walks that led to the Orioles loading the bases and being in position to score on the two dribblers and a sac fly.

"It all started there," he said. "I put myself in bad situations."

With Moore out for the season and Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson potentially until early June, Odorizzi knows he has to be better.

"I have to contribute," he said. "My role has changed in the sense that I need to go out and have a consistent outing each time and know what I'm going to get. I'm real close to that. I know my stuff, I know my body, everything feels good. I'm just at that wall right now, and once I get past it, great things are going to come."

Sounds familiar.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@tampabay.com.

Rays lose to Orioles, wrap up rough road trip 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:08pm]
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