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Orioles swept by Boston, playoff chances very much in doubt

Orioles swept by Boston, playoff chances very much in doubt

BALTIMORE – The Orioles can console themselves that there are still nine games left. Yes, they’re still in the race for the American League wild-card, though they’re going to have to play much better than they did in the four games just past. 

The Boston Red Sox are on their way to the American League East title after a four-game sweep of the Orioles, their first here in exactly 14 years. The Orioles scored eight runs in five games and lost on Thursday, 5-3 before 26,788 at Oriole Park.

The Orioles (82-71) have lost six of eight in this crucial homestand. They’re seven games behind Boston (89-64) and have fallen out of the second wild card.

Not only do they trail Toronto by 1 ½ games, but for the first time this season, they’re a half-game behind Detroit, which won a doubleheader in Minnesota. 

The Orioles have three three-game series with Arizona beginning on Friday night, and a six-game road trip next week to Toronto and New York. 

They’ll need to win almost all of them.  

“Believe it or not, we’re still in the hunt for the playoffs. The way people make it seem sometimes it feels like we’re 40 games under .500. That’s not the case. Disappointing? Absolutely. But we didn’t put the last nail in our own coffin or anything,” Caleb Joseph said.

“We’re gonna show up, we’re gonna give the D’backs everything we have the next three games. If we win three in a row, now we’re back maybe where we want to be. We still control our own destiny and that’s the main thing. Disappointing to lose four in a row? Sure. But nobody’s feeling sorry for us, or nobody’s hanging their head around here.”

Chris Tillman had his shortest start of the season and didn’t make it out of the second. 

In the first, Mookie Betts, who was 19-for-37 (.514) here this year, singled with two outs. Tillman walked David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez singled to center for a run. 

Jackie Bradley, Jr. led off the second with a triple and scored on Sandy Leon’s single to right. With two outs, Brock Holt singled, and Betts walked to load the bases. After Ortiz walked to score Leon, Vance Worley relieved Tillman who allowed three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking three. 

“I was just mechanically bad tonight. The more I tried to make an adjustment, the worse it kind of got for me. I just couldn’t hit on consistent basics. I’d hit one and then miss three. It wasn’t good. Command was bad from the get-go. I was never able to find it,” Tillman said. 

Tillman threw 63 pitches, and manager Buck Showalter said that even earlier in the season, he wouldn’t have let Tillman try and work his way out of trouble.

“Probably not because he had 60-something pitches in 1 2/3 innings. That’s not good business. That’s just not a good risk reward for someone. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that type of challenge on an arm. Regardless of what time of year it is, I don’t’ like doing that,” Showalter said. 

Worley had an uneven performance, allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 innings, but it was costly. Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single scored Travis Shaw who walked to start the fifth. 

Worley (2-2) walked four and threw two wild pitches. 

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Ortiz, who showed disdain for the mounted broken dugout phone presented him before the game, was 1-for-3 with two walks, in his final game. 

David Price (17-8) didn’t come close to equaling his masterful performance of Sept. 12 when he allowed two hits in eight innings, but he got through seven allowing three runs on six hits. 

Price’s roughest inning came in the third when Trey Mancini became the first Oriole to homer in his first two starts. Mancini’s three-run home run, tied the score at 3. 

Mancini led off the sixth with a double to right, but he stayed there when Jonathan Schoop grounded to third, J.J. Hardy flied to center and Drew Stubbs struck out.

Hanley Ramirez’s home run off Donnie Hart in the seventh gave Boston a 5-3 lead and ended his scoreless streak. Hart hadn’t allowed a run in his first 18 games and 15 1/3 innings. 

Koji Uehara pitched a hitless eighth and Craig Kimbrel earned his 29th save in the ninth with a perfect inning.  

Showalter said he thinks his team will rebound.

“It’s all about riding the good times and shortening up the bad times as much as you can and we are going to try to shorten this one up starting tomorrow,” Showalter said. 

NOTE: The Diamondbacks play in Baltimore for the first time since 2007 this weekend. Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.90) faces Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.77). 

MORE ORIOLES: Bundy gets Sunday start instead of Gausman

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Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

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USA TODAY Sports

Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays have to wait at least one more day before taking their swings against former teammate Alex Cobb.

Cobb, now with the Baltimore Orioles, was scheduled to face his old team on Tuesday night before the game was postponed by rain.

Thus, Cobb will start Wednesday in the delayed start of this series between the only two AL East teams with losing records.

The rainout will be made up as part of single-admission doubleheader on May 12.

It was the 27th major league game to be postponed this season, the most related to weather through April since the commissioner's office started keeping records in 1986. Detroit's game at Pittsburgh was washed out later Tuesday, raising the total to 28.

Cobb, 30, spent his entire career with the Rays before signing with Baltimore as a free agent on March 21. Over six years with Tampa Bay, the right-hander was 48-35 and one of the leaders of the staff.

"He was a crucial part to this organization's success," Rays starter Chris Archer said. "He's a big-game pitcher and somebody who's very consistent, very routine oriented. The competitive nature rubbed off on me and rubbed off on the other guys in this clubhouse as well."

Cobb signed a $57 million, four-year deal with the Orioles, who will be counting on him to deliver the same kind of pitching and leadership in Baltimore.

Thus far, it hasn't gone well. Cobb got off to a late start because he missed most of spring training, and since his return he's gone 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA.

"Abbreviation has affected that," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to get going here. Hopefully he can wait one more start before he does."

Brad Miller was down to bat cleanup for the Rays on Tuesday night before the game was called. Miller knew better than to chat with his old friend beforehand.

"Definitely wouldn't talk to him on his start days," Miller said. "Thought about maybe texting him just to rattle him a little bit, but ... ."

Miller won't know what to think when he sees Cobb wearing the orange and black of the Orioles.

"It's definitely going to be weird seeing him on the mound," Miller said. "I miss Cobb a lot. He was the ultimate competitor."

And that, Miller contends, is what sets Cobb apart from most pitchers.

"He's a bulldog. Really intense, kind of an old-school throwback starting pitcher," Miller said. "He's going to go out there and do anything he can for his team. So that, for me, is obviously his biggest trait."

The rainout came at an opportune time for the Orioles, who are hampered by injuries and have lost nine of 10 games to fall 11 games under .500 (6-17).

Baltimore's projected starting lineup did not include infielder Tim Beckham, who's been bothered by a groin injury and is expected to land on the 10-day disabled list.

With Beckham out and Trey Mancini playing with a tender right knee, manager Buck Showalter would have been operating with a short bench.

Help is on the way: Baltimore claimed utility infielder Jace Peterson on waivers from the New York Yankees. He's expected to arrive Wednesday.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

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USA TODAY Sports

Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."

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Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.

WELL RESTED

Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.

UP NEXT

Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.

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