One and done: Meager Rays offense brings Baltimore brooms

“We’re on pace to score 162 runs this year,” Maddon said sardonically. “It might be a league record.

“I think they really pitched well against us,” he added, “and they played really good defense as well.”

Davis really got in trouble in the top of the seventh, allowing three consecutive hits — a single each to Wieters and Adam Jones and a 2-RBI double to Mark Reynolds — before inducing Felix Pie to ground out to third. Davis got the yank after giving up another double and another RBI to J.J. Hardy. Hardy would have scored on the base hit by Nick Markakis off of Rays’ reliever Cesar Ramos were it not for the throw by Fuld to the plate, where Kelly Shoppach put on the tag for the 7-2 put out.

“Actually, I thought Wade pitched well,” said Ray manager Joe Maddon. “I liked his stuff a lot; that inning got away from us rather quickly. The Wieters hit, the Jones hit… he was pitching really well to that point.

"They, the Orioles, pitched well against us. They played really good defense… they just beat us [for] three games.”

“I made some mistakes in that last inning and made some bad pitches to good hitters,” Davis said.

Manny Ramirez reached on an error by Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth, but pinch-hitters John Jaso and Felipe Lopez — fresh from his call-up — could do no more than Dan Johnson after them; three outs later and the Rays were officially swept in the first series of 2011.

Here’s the thing, trite as it may be: there are 159 more games to be played. Early failure — or success — means very little at this point. Is it encouraging? Not by any means, but the Orioles would be foolish to start getting their ring fingers sized right now, and they’re too wise an organization not to realize that.

“We’re only three games into the season so we’ve got a long road ahead,” said Evan Longoria, who did not play due to injury.

Injury update: 1 sore right calf, a strained left oblique and a partridge in a pear tree.

LF Johnny Damon did not play in Sunday’s game; Sam Fuld — with some impressive fielding — replaced him in left. Damon sat with a sore right calf, saying it could be turf-related but he was unsure.

“I don’t know what happened in the middle of the night,” Damon said. “I just woke up and was sore.”

Evan Longoria was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left oblique. The team called up Felipe Lopez from AAA-affiliate Durham, designating RHP Mike Eckstrom for assignment to make room for Lopez on the 40-man roster.

“I think the results of the MRI were not what I expected,” Longoria said. “It felt a lot better than it showed.”

Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinTall

It was another one of those games Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, as the Tampa Bay Rays looked to avoid a sweep at the hands of the visiting Baltimore Orioles. This game wasn’t as close as starting pitcher Wade Davis’ new haircut; he was charged with four earned runs on eight hits and the loss before having his head shaved post-game for the Cut for a Cure event. His team managed one run on four hits — for the third straight game — in support of the right-hander.

“They’ve got a good lineup," Davis said. "They’ve always had a good lineup… you make mistakes to good hitters and they’ll get you.”

Davis got in trouble early but not often, yielding a base hit to Brian Roberts, who led off the first inning. A one-out walk issued to Derrek Lee advanced Roberts to second, allowing him to score on the two-out single by Matt Wieters.

The Rays managed to tie the game in the bottom of the third, as Matt Joyce and Sam Fuld – in for the injured Johnny Damon – led off with back-to-back walks. B.J. Upton popped the ball up but the Orioles’ defensive miscues in shallow right field led to a dropped ball; Fuld was thrown out at second on the fielder’s choice. Elliot Johnson’s base hit brought Joyce around to score.

Baltimore starting pitcher Zach Britton was sharp but not masterful, allowing the 1 run on 3 hits, walking 3 batters while striking out 6. As a team, the Rays have managed only a single run on four hits each of the last three games; is this really only a matter of being out-pitched?


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