ST. PETERSBURG, Florida—For the first time in 13 days, the Orioles lost on Friday night, and it stung. Their 10-game winning streak, the longest in nearly 23 years, is over, and the Orioles attempted to look ahead.
The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles, 5-4, before an announced crowd of 13,917 at Tropicana Field and put them back at .500 with a 45-45 record.
Tropicana Field continues to be a difficult place to win for the Orioles. It was their 10th straight loss to Tampa Bay (50-40).
“That’s a great team over there,” Trey Mancini said. “And you have to play pretty flawlessly to beat them, along with the other teams in our division. “We gave a good effort, almost came back, but came up a little short.”
Tyler Wells (7-5) and Cionel Pérez allowed four runs in the sixth, and Tampa Bay led 5-2. Ramón Urías hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot, in the eighth inning to put Baltimore within a run. But that was the end of the Orioles’ scoring, ending their streak.
“Let’s start another one tomorrow, right?” Urías said.
Matt Wisler (3-3) pitched a scoreless sixth, and Brooks Raley a spotless ninth for his sixth save.
The Orioles loaded the bases in the first against Luis Patiño. Mancini reached on an infield single with one out. Ryan Mountcastle walked with two outs and Austin Hays was hit in the ribs with a pitch. Adley Rutschman popped out in foul ground to third ending the inning.
Mancini hit his ninth home run of the season with one out in the third.
In the bottom of the third, Luke Raley led off and popped to short left. Jorge Mateo ran from his shortstop position, caught it and didn’t stop running until he nearly reached the warning track. Wandy Diaz walked, and he went to third on Harold Ramirez’s double.
With second and third, Wells struck out Ji-Man Choi and Randy Arozarena flied to right.
Urías homered with one out in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Wells walked leadoff batter Isaac Parades, and Yu Chang scored him with a double to cut the Orioles lead to 2-1.
The Orioles loaded the bases against Shawn Armstrong in the fifth on singles by Cedric Mullins, Mancini and Hays before Rutschman was caught looking, leaving the bases loaded twice.
The Orioles left eight on base, all in the first six innings.
“You’ve got to be able to cash in early there,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We had a lot of opportunities to score, just didn’t push enough across there early.”
Tampa Bay scored four to take a 5-2 lead in the sixth on consecutive doubles by Josh Lowe, Chang and Francisco Mejia and a two-run pinch hit home run by Christian Bethancourt, his fifth.
Bethancourt’s home run, which was originally ruled foul, was overturned on a crew chief review. It wrapped just around the foul pole in left.
Wells left after Chang’s double and allowed three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“I think there were a lot of unfortunate things, especially in the last inning,” Wells said. “To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement…It’s weighing pretty heavy on me.”
Wells had gone eight starts since his last loss on May 25th.
“You’re going to see us bounce back pretty good,” he said. “I think the feeling of losing after 10 games is not a feeling that we want.”
“I think the guys are going to come back stronger. I think we’re going to come back and compete. Like they always say, we’re not quitters. We’re not going to roll over and die and going to keep going after them.”
Mejia’s double broke Pérez’s streak of retiring 19 consecutive batters, and he allowed his first earned run since June 14th.
“Cionel Pérez has been money in the bank for us for the entire season,” Hyde said.
After a painful loss, Hyde can’t appreciate the streak yet.
“Not right now,” Hyde said. “I’m really happy with how our team has played. I’ve got to say that a bunch the last couple of months, even today. We get a lead, we battled back and we give it up, so hopefully we can go out and score some more runs tomorrow.”
Hays doubled leading off the eighth, and after Rutschman was again caught looking, Urías hit his second home run of the game to cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-4.
“I’m really proud of these guys in here,” Mancini said. “I’ve gotten to see a lot of them grow these last few years and become great major league players. The way that we’ve all been very cohesive and we’ve had great team chemistry, that’s really what’s gotten us to this point. It’s really been great to be a part of.”
Notes: It was Urías’ first two-home run game. …Wells’ six-game winning streak was the longest by an Orioles starter since Chris Tillman won nine straight from April 27th-June 19th, 2016. …Dean Kremer (3-1, 2.15) and Ryan Yarbrough (0-4, 5.82) start on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Yarbrough is 5-2 with a 3.93 ERA in 14 career games against the Orioles.
Minor league update: Second baseman Terrin Vavra, shortstop Jordan Westburg and first baseman Jacob Nottingham each had two hits as Triple-A Norfolk lost to Worcester 6-2.
Shortstop Joey Ortiz hit two home runs to lead Double-A Bowie over Akron 2-1. Ortiz has six homers this season.
Brenan Hanifee allowed a run on two hits in three innings in his first Double-A start, striking out six. Hanifee had Tommy John surgery in May 2021.
Garrett Stallings (2-7) pitched six shutout innings in relief, striking out six.
Colton Cowser went 2-for-4, and is batting .327.
Right fielder Davis Tavarez had three hits as High-A Aberdeen lost to Jersey Shore 4-3.
Ryan Long (4-4) pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits as Single-A Delmarva beat Carolina 6-2.
Leftfielder Trendon Craig drove in two runs.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB