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Orioles run drought continues as they drop third straight

Orioles run drought continues as they drop third straight

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – That seven-game winning streak to start the season seems so long ago now.

Since then, the Orioles have lost eight of 12 games, and now have dropped consecutive series and three straight for the first time this season.

On Tuesday night, the Orioles hit into three double plays in a disheartening 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays before 10,988 at Tropicana Field.

“The difference was we couldn't get anything to find a spot to fall in,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I think the key to the game was them defensively. We hit four balls on the button that they defended. That’s a tribute to them. Would have liked to create a couple opportunities we could cash in on. But they did, too.

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs in six innings, but it was hardly good enough.

Kevin Kiermaier hit an 0-2 pitch by Jimenez for a two-run home run in the sixth, and that was enough for the Orioles to lose.

“It’s hard when you give up a home run and lose a game because of one bad pitch. 0-2, I just wanted to go up and in. I didn’t want to throw anything close to the zone, but I left it right in,” Jimenez said.

Enny Romero (1-0) got the win in relief of Jake Odorizzi as the Orioles continued to flail away at bat. They’ve scored just two runs in the last 27 innings.

In the second inning, Mark Trumbo singled with one out and J.J. Hardy followed with a double, but runners stayed on second and third as Pedro Alvarez struck out and Jonathan Schoop flied to center.

Chris Davis led off the fourth by flicking an opposite field double to left. Davis scored on Trumbo’s single to left. While Trumbo took second on the throw home, Hardy walked and Alvarez singled to load the bases.

Schoop popped to short, and Caleb Joseph hit into a double play, ending what could have been a most productive inning for the Orioles (11-8).

“Bases loaded, we need to score some runs there and take a little bit of pressure off Ubaldo. He had some high-stress innings. We’ve got to execute a little better in that situation. More times than not this season we have. Me personally, we’ve got to pick it up. We’ve got to get that run in. Multiple runs,” Joseph said.

Tampa Bay (10-10) wasted plenty of scoring chances, too. Logan Forsythe led off the first with a double, moved to third on Jimenez’s wild pitch. After Brad Miller grounded out to first, Evan Longoria grounded sharply to short. Hardy’s throw to home nailed Forsythe.

In the second, the Rays had second and third with one out, but again were thwarted by Jimenez (1-2).

They scored in the third after they had second and third with none out, but Adam Jones’ running catch on Desmond Jennings’ fly ball limited the damage to a run.

Once the Rays took the lead, Schoop and Jones hit into double plays with none out in the seventh and eighth.

Jimenez’s start was for naught thanks to Kiermaier.

“It just [stinks] for a guy to put in a performance like that and keep grinding and grinding and to one pitch dictate it and usually that’s what happens. He’s a pesky hitter. He’s got just enough pop to scare you a little bit, so I thought Ubaldo did a really nice job getting out of those jams for sure. He gave us some length today. It was unfortunate. He deserved a W today,” Joseph said.

Alex Colome got the final two outs in the ninth for his fifth save.

“It hasn’t been easy for me the last three games. Every inning, I have to work hard to get out of the inning, but I’ve been able to battle. I haven’t given up. I find a way to get back and get the next hitter out,” Jimenez said. “A game like that, I’m going to be able to win it, but right now we haven’t been able to score a lot of runs, but we have a pretty good lineup and one of these days, they’re going to start doing what everybody’s expecting.”

NOTES: The Orioles have been held to one run or fewer in three straight games for just the second time in four seasons. … Since starting the season by hitting in 16 straight games, Manny Machado is 0-for-13. …The Orioles had gone 13 straight games without a quality start before Jimenez’s. … … Alvarez has consecutive games with two hits. … The Orioles have lost consecutive series for the first time since Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2015. … Chris Tillman (1-1, 4.42) faces Matt Moore (1-1, 3.60) on Wednesday night.

RELATED: Buck Showalter says Adam Jones' ribs are fine

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.