It was another frustrating game for the Orioles against the Tampa Bay Rays. Starting pitcher Keegan Akin threw 95 pitches in just four innings, and the Orioles got only three hits in their 4-2 loss on Friday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
It was their 13th straight road loss, equaling the club record. Their last win on the road was John Means’ no-hitter on May 5th.
The Orioles (22-40) lost for the fourth straight time to the Rays (40-24) this sesaon. Going back to least season, the Orioles have lost 10 of their last 11 games to Tampa Bay.
Last month, the Rays scored 32 runs in a three-game sweep in Baltimore to begin the Orioles’ 14-game losing streak.
Trey Mancini hit a two-run home run against Ryan Yarbrough (4-3) in the third. It was his 12th of the season and third against Yarbrough.
Tampa Bay scored a run in the bottom of the third against Akin (0-1). Mike Zunino and Kevin Kiermaier began the inning with singles. The runners moved up after a wild pitch by Akin, and Zunino scored on Manuel Margot’s forceout.
In the bottom of the fourth, Randy Arozarena began with a single. Mike Brosseau hit a liner to left but was thrown out at second by Austin Hays as Arozarena took third. Brandon Lowe homered on a 1-2 pitch to right-center, his 11th, and Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Akin said of his high pitch count. “It’s always in the back of your mind when you battle those at-bats. You’ve got to execute and try to get them out on five pitches or less. It’s the goal.”
Akin has discussed his inefficiency with pitching coach Chris Holt.
“If you look back at some of the outings where I’ve thrown well, five innings is good, but I want to be a little better than good. I want to get into the sixth or go all the way to the seventh,” Akin said. “In those outings, the first-pitch strikes, the percentage is just so much higher than it was tonight. First-pitch strikes are such a game-changer when you have them on your heels.”
Akin allowed three runs on five hits in four innings, walking three and striking out two.
“For young guys, especially at this level, the mentality that they have is to try to throw a perfect pitch down in the zone,” catcher Pedro Severino said.
“That doesn’t work at this level because when you try to be so perfect, they throw it too far from home plate. Most of the time, just throw it down the middle, and stay there. I just want them to attack the hitter with every pitch I call.”
Tyler Wells pitched two scoreless innings in relief, giving up two hits and striking out three.
Cole Sulser allowed a run in the seventh on an RBI single by Manuel Margot.
Yarbrough allowed two runs on three hits in six innings, striking out six. Andrew Kittredge, J.P. Feyereisen and Pete Fairbanks threw hitless innings, though Feyereisen walked two in the eighth. Fairbanks registered his second save.
“They have a lot of different angles that they can throw at you,” manager Brandon Hyde said of the Rays’ bullpen.
Besides Mancini’s homer, Anthony Santander’s first-inning double and Severino’s fifth-inning single were the only other hits for the Orioles.
Notes: This is the third 13-game road losing streak in club history. The last one came from April 13-May 17, 2018. They also dropped 13 consecutive road games during their 21-game losing streak to begin the 1988 seaon. … Ryan Mountcastle’s RBI streak ended at eight games. Mountcastle’s streak was the longest by a rookie in club history. … The Orioles have been held to three runs on nine hits in their last two games after scoring 28 runs on 37 hits in their previous two games. … Jorge López (2-6, 5.30 ERA) will face Rich Hill (5-2, 3.05) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.
Minor Matters: Zac Lowther and Conner Greene combined for a shutout as Triple-A Norfolk beat the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 9-0. Lowther allowed three hits in four innings, walking two and striking out four. Greene (1-2) gave up three hits in five innings, walking one and striking out one.
Third baseman Domingo Leyba had three hits, including a three-run home run. He was acquired on waivers from Arizona on June 4th. Rightfielder Zach Jarrett also had three hits. He’s batting .304.
Right-hander Blaine Knight pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits, in Double-A Bowie’s 5-4 loss to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Knight, the Orioles’ third-round pick in the 2018 draft, struck out seven. Leftfielder Robert Neustrom and first baseman J.C. Escarra each had two hits.
Garrett Stallings allowed four runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings as High-A Aberdeen lost to Bowling Green 5-3. Stallings (3-3) was obtained from the Los Angeles Angels last December in the trade that sent shortstop José Iglesias to the Angels.
The IronBirds scored their three runs in the first on back-to-back homers — a two-run shot by rightfielder Kyle Stowers, his fourth, and leftfielder Zach Watson, his fifth.
Stowers and Watson were picked in the second and third round of the 2019 draft.
Low-A Delmarva’s scheduled doubleheader at Lynchburg was rained out. The Shorebirds and Hillcats will play a doubleheader on Saturday.