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Friday, Apr 27, 2018
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Punchless Rays lose 3-0 in chilly Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles had a runner on third base in the bottom of the sixth for the third straight inning and were on the verge of blowing Wednesday’s game open when Ryan Flaherty smacked a sinking line drive to left field that sent David DeJesus into a dive.

DeJesus came up with the ball but not his belt.

It seemed the buckle snapped when DeJesus landed on the grass. He ran off the field holding the ball in his glove and his belt with is bare hand.

“I was like, ‘This has to be the change of luck,’ ” DeJesus said.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Tampa Bay Rays, trailing by three runs at the time, loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh.

But Ben Zobrist forced Logan Forsythe at the plate and Wil Myers struck out and that was it as far as chances for the day.

The Rays lost 3-0 to the Orioles at Camden Yards on a sunny but cold afternoon. Temperature at first pitch was 39 degrees.

It was only fitting the Rays would end the first road trip of the season on a day that was as cold as their bats.

The Rays scored a total of 14 runs while losing five of the eight games played during the three-city journey. They also lost two pitchers to injuries -- Matt Moore for the season with Tommy John surgery and Alex Cobb for four to six weeks with a left oblique strain.

“It’s almost like you’re lucky that you won three,” manager Joe Maddon said. “A tough trip. We’ll get through it, get on home, try to get well at home. I’m not discouraged. To be in this position right now without any real sustained offense is actually kind of good, and we’re going to continue to pitch well. The balls are going to start finding holes and rest comfortable on the outfield grass and not be caught. It’s just going to happen and we got to just keep fighting through it.”

Jake Odorizzi allowed three runs in his five innings. He retired nine straight after Nick Markakis singled to start the first inning. But Odorizzi walked Nelson Cruz to start the fourth inning, and Cruz eventually scored. Odorizzi walked Flaherty with one out in the fourth inning, and he also scored.

While those walks hurt, they weren’t as much of a backbreaker as a pair of hits that totalled maybe 60 feet.

The first was a ball J.J. Hardy tapped to the right of the mound in the fourth inning with runners on second and third and the Orioles up 1-0. Odorizzi fumbled the ball before throwing to first for the out. Odorizzi had a play at the plate had he fielded the ball cleanly.

Baltimore loaded the bases again the next inning and scored their third run when Adam Jones topped a ball up the third base line. Odorizzi was going to pick it up and throw home, but Evan Longoria called for him to let it roll foul.

It stopped right on the third base line.

“Two balls that didn’t go 90 feet cost me two runs,” Odorizzi said.

But, he quickly said, “Give them credit, they put it in play and good things happen when you put it in play.”

Except if you’re the Rays.

Batting with one out in the fourth inning and runners on first and second, DeJesus hit a sinking line drive to right field. Markakis made a diving catch and doubled James Loney off second base for a rally-ending double play.

“It’s been tough,” Maddon said. “We saw 153 pitches (Wednesday) and didn’t score any runs. That’s really difficult to do.”

Beginning with a 3-0 loss to Texas in the final game of the last homestand, the Rays are batting .191 and averaging 1.6 runs per game.

“It’s early,” said DeJesus, who batted .063 on the trip. “We can press or we can be like, ‘Hey, just keep moving on.’ That’s the road we have to take. We have to keep having good at-bats. We’re still hitting the ball. We just haven’t been able to find the holes. They chop over one, it stays on the white chalk of the line. Every break has been for their side right now. We just got to keep staying positive. Big series against New York coming up, and we have to look forward to that.”

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