BALTIMORE – In the middle of the fifth inning, a video montage of Cal Ripken was shown on the video board. It concluded and Ripken began waving to the crowd from a suite.
The fans cheered.
They had little else to cheer about as the Orioles continued to drop further and further out of the playoff conversation after their latest embarrassment, an 11-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays before 22,987 at Oriole Park on Tuesday night.
It was supposed to be a night of celebration, to mark the 20th anniversary of Ripken breaking the consecutive game streak.
Instead, another loss, the 12th in 13 games.
“It’s not hard, it’s frustrating. Hard is figuring out quantum physics. That’s hard. Frustrating is going out there every night and giving it your all and not getting the result you want, but it’s the sport. You’ve got to bring it and we need to bring it and we need to bring it ASAP because it’s getting frustrating in here,” Adam Jones said.
The Rays (66-66) scored four runs in both the fourth and fifth.
Chris Tillman (9-10) lost for the third straight time, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
The Orioles (63-69) are six games below .500, equaling their low point of the season. Two weeks ago, there was wild card talk.
“There’s no blame game. You’ve just got to figure out a way, you know. I can say whatever I want in terms of, do this, do that, blah, blah, blah. You’ve got to figure out a way to score some runs, score early,” Jones said.
Before Tillman allowed a run, the Orioles committed a notable gaffe.
With one out in the third, Manny Machado hit the 100th double of his Orioles career. He’s the youngest Oriole to hit 100 doubles. After he stole third, Steve Pearce popped to short center.
Tampa Bay second baseman Logan Forsythe snared the pop with his back to the infield and while Machado inexplicably remained stuck to third base, threw poorly to the plate.
After Jones struck out to end the inning, Machado and third base coach Bobby Dickerson stood at third base talking for several moments.
In the fourth, Logan Forsythe doubled with one out. Asdrubal Cabrera walked. James Loney’s single scored Forsythe, and after Brandon Guyer singled, J.P. Arencibia’s single scored Cabrera and Loney. Grady Sizemore hit into a force play, scoring Guyer and giving the Rays a 4-0 lead.
John Jaso doubled with one out in the fourth. Forsythe singled, and Jaso scored on Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. After Loney was walked intentionally, Guyer doubled for a run and Arencibia singled for two more runs, and suddenly it was 8-0.
“It's not fun. It's frustrating. But you know what? We've got another game tomorrow and that's our mindset as a team. No one is giving in here. The other teams might want us to, but we're not going to. We're going to keep fighting. I think I know this team pretty well and I think we're going to get through this,” Tillman said.
Arencibia hit a two-run home run in the seventh off T.J. McFarland for a 10-0 lead. In spring training, the Orioles had Arencibia in camp, and he hit horribly. They never thought he’d have six RBIs against them in September.
Drew Smyly (2-2) pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out 10.
Chris Davis prevented the shutout with a two-run home run, his 36th, in the ninth.
“Everybody knows the games are dwindling. We are going to have to get hot in order to get in this thing,” manager Buck Showalter said.
NOTES: Showalter said that the MRIs on Miguel Gonzalez’s right shoulder and elbow had no alarming results.
“The shoulder and elbow MRIs were nothing that we don't think, probably a DL period if we decided to do that, wouldn't take care of. It was a positive report. Didn’t find any structural damage. That’s good,” Showalter said.
“We are going to let that quiet down, see if we can get him ready to pitch again. It was, I thought as good news as you could expect. I know he was really concerned. Every time you have Tommy John [surgery] and some tenderness in that area. Now we will go on with the treatment and see how quick we can get him back.”
Showalter expects Gonzalez to pitch again this season.
J.J. Hardy says he expects to play when he’s eligible to return from the disabled list a week from now. He’s been on the disabled list for eight days with a sore left groin.
Kevin Gausman (2-6, 4.39) faces Erasmo Ramirez (10-5, 3.68) on Wednesday night. Showalter wanted to Gausman to pitch Friday in Toronto, but had to use Steve Johnson and McFarland.
MORE ORIOLES Twenty years ago: Ripken's memorable night