ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles took a quick lead and promptly gave it back. The end result was another loss in a dismal season.
B.J. Upton had five RBIs, Wade Davis pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles 6-3 on Saturday night.
Nick Markakis hit a two-run homer in the first for the Orioles (55-82), who are now saddled with their 14th straight losing record. Baltimore came up short in its bid to win six straight road games for the first time since Aug. 29-Sept 4, 2004.
“I don’t get involved in that mentality,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about possibly having a here-we-go-again feeling about blowing the early lead. “It’s something that doesn’t happen every night, but it’s happened too much. It’s something that we will get better at.”
Upton hit a two-out, three-run double off Alfredo Simon (4-8) to make it 6-2 in the fifth. The Rays tied it at 2 during the first when Upton drove in two runs on a double.
“The command of the fastball has got to be there to pitch at this level,” Showalter said. “Tonight wasn’t one of those nights.”
Upton had just 16 RBIs in his previous 63 home games this season.
“I walked a couple guys and then when the bases were loaded, I tried to throw a strike, but I left the fastball up and he just hit the ball,” Simon said. “I left my pitches up today and there is no excuse for that.”
Simon gave up six runs and seven hits over five-plus innings.
Both of Upton’s run-scoring hits came after Matt Joyce drew two-out walks.
“If you’re a competitor, you do (take it personally),” Upton said. “Nobody likes the guy in front of him walked to get to yourself, so you want to rise to the occasion. It just happened to work out.”
Joyce had a third-inning RBI double to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead. Davis (9-8) allowed three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings.
The right-hander struck out five and walked four. Kyle Farnsworth, the third Tampa Bay reliever, pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Markakis entered with four hits in his previous 38 at-bats, and wound up 1 for 2 with two walks on Saturday.
Baltimore got within 6-3 when Matt Wieters had a run-scoring single in the sixth. Davis avoided further damage by getting an inning-ending double play from Robert Andino with the bases loaded.
“We had some chances to really climb back in that thing,” Showalter said. “We were ahead 2-0, and then we went right out and gave it right back.”
Wieters has driven in 15 runs over his last 13 games.
NOTES: Baltimore has one hit in its last 11 at-bats with the bases loaded. Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (flulike symptoms) remains on target to pitch Tuesday against the New York Yankees. Baltimore LHP Brian Matusz is scheduled to make his next start Monday in New York after being skipped one time through the rotation. Orioles INF Chris Davis (strained right shoulder) is set to play Sunday and Monday at Double-A Bowie. Baltimore RHP Jeremy Guthrie (6-16), who is 5-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 17 starts against Tampa Bay, will face Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (11-10) in Sunday’s series finale.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)