ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Adam Jones can do the math: Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays left the Baltimore Orioles 4 1/2 games out of the AL’s wild-card berth with seven games left.
“Basically we’re going to have win out and hope for the best on the other side,” the Orioles centerfielder said. “We have to take care of our business. We battle and we grind and sometimes, as the saying goes, you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. The last couple days we’ve been the bug, so we just have to get back to being that windshield.”
Baltimore has lost three straight to the Rays going into Monday’s series finale.
“We would have loved to have won the first three, but the reality is that we didn’t,” loser Scott Feldman said. “So we have no choice but to keep playing hard, try to come out tomorrow and take the last game and see what happens.”
Enny Romero won in his major league debut, combining with five relievers on a three-hitter.
Promoted from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day, Romero gave up Manny Machado’s leadoff single to start the game. But that was the only hit off Romero, who walked four and struck out none in 4 2/3 innings.
Brandon Gomes (3-1) replaced Romero with two on and two outs in the fifth and struck out Machado.
Fernando Rodney allowed Danny Valencia’s single and an RBI double by Matt Wieters with two outs in the ninth en route to his 36th save in 44 chances.
Dating to the final 11 innings of the Rays’ 5-4, 18-inning victory on Friday night, Tampa Bay pitchers have limited Baltimore to two runs and 10 hits over 29 innings with a .102 batting average.
“We’re facing good pitching, but that’s no excuse,” Jones said. “We’re just not getting it done. Sometimes that’s just how the game unfolds. On our side it’s at the wrong time for it to unfold, but there’s no complaints.”
Feldman (5-5) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
David DeJesus put the Rays up 1-0 on a leadoff homer in the first, finishing a 10-pitch at-bat that set the tone for the game.
“We threw him every pitch I had,” Feldman said. “He fought off some of my better pitches and put together a good at bat, and then I left one over the middle and he hit it.”
Matt Joyce had a sacrifice fly and James Loney hit an RBI single during the sixth to make it 3-0.
Romero went 11-7 with Double-A Montgomery before throwing eight scoreless innings for Durham on Sept. 2. He also pitched out of the bullpen for the Bulls on Sept. 13 in the International League playoffs.
Tampa Bay’s original scheduled Sunday starter, Jeremy Hellickson, came out of the bullpen Friday night and threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings to get the win.
“(Romero) is a good young arm. I can understand why they’re so excited about him; they’ve got a lot of them,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “But we had two or three balls that barreled up and found some gloves. They played really good defense in this game, which has been pretty much par for the course for this series.”
Showalter said the Orioles still have some hope if they can get their bats going.
“We’ll have to get a little cooperation mathematically, but you’d be surprised how quickly the outlook on things change in one day’s time,” he said.
NOTES: Maddon would like to see the wild-card playoff expand from one game to best-of-three. For those worried about making the season longer, Maddon thinks playing a doubleheader during the series could be a viable option. … Orioles RHP Chris Tillman, who hurt an ankle during Thursday’s game against Boston, remains scheduled to make his next start Tuesday. … The Rays are expected to activate RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) on Monday. … Tampa Bay selected the contract of RHP J.D. Martin from Durham to provide additional bullpen depth. He is expected to be designated for assignment Monday.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)