ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The bullpen lost another game for the Tampa Bay Rays, but the problems again started with a starter.
The Baltimore Orioles scored two runs off Joel Peralta in the eighth inning to beat the Rays 5-3 to maintain their slim lead in the AL East.
Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis both drove in runs after a 19-minute delay caused by a series of lights going out at Tropicana Field. The power outage came soon after Steve Clevenger’s one-out double off Peralta (1-2) put runners on second and third.
After Steve Pearce walked, an RBI single by Flaherty and Markakis’ run-scoring grounder gave Baltimore the two-run lead.
“I made bad pitches and they hit ‘em,” said Peralta. “It had nothing to do with the lights.”
Manager Joe Maddon said the loss may have had more to to do with Chris Archer’s inability to pitch more than five innings, continuing a trend that has been costly to the Rays.
“We obviously have to get guys deeper into games because that permits you to use the bullpen in the manner that keeps them all fresh,” Maddon said. “Again we had to use four (relievers) tonight. That happens because you’re not getting enough outs out of your starter.”
In 13 games since David Price’s complete game on April 22, Rays starters have averaged only five innings per start.
“I always want to go deeper, always want to be as efficient as possible with 100 pitches,” said Archer, who threw exactly 100 pitches. “I’ve thrown nine innings with less than 100 pitches before so I know what I’m capable of. The goal, regardless of any situation, is to be much more efficient and overall better than I was tonight.”
The Rays announced that Duke Energy, which provides electricity to the ballpark, said the problem was caused by lightning striking a nearby transformer.
Evan Longoria hit a two-run homer for the Rays, who loaded bases with one out in the ninth but failed to score against Tommy Hunter. The Orioles closer got a flyball from Desmond Jennings and struck out Logan Forsythe to pick up his ninth save.
Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the both fourth and fifth against Archer, but scored just once in both innings on sacrifice flies. J.J. Hardy hit a sacrifice fly that tied it during the fourth before the Orioles went up 3-2 on Adam Jones’ fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
Tampa Bay pulled even at 3 when Ben Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly off Darren O’Day (1-0) in the seventh.
Longoria put the Rays ahead 2-0 with his fourth homer of the season off Chris Tillman in the first.
Pearce cut the deficit to 2-1 with a third-inning homer.
Tillman allowed three runs and five hits over six-plus innings. Archer gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.
NOTES: Since Alex Cobb was placed on the DL with a strained left oblique on April 13, the Rays are 8-13 and their starting pitchers have worked five innings or less in 15 of those 21 games. . . . Cobb said Tuesday he expects to pitch in a major league game by the end of the month . . . Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said 1B Chris Davis (strained left oblique) is making good progress but that it’s a long shot that he will be activated from the 15-day DL when eligible Sunday. “He’s moving in a good manner,” Showalter said. … Markakis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning single. … Showalter said Orioles prospect Kevin Gausman (pneumonia), the fourth overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, will pitch Saturday for Triple-A Norfolk. … Tampa Bay recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from Triple-A Durham. … Orioles RHP Bud Norris (2-2) and Rays LHP Cesar Ramos (1-1) are Wednesday night’s scheduled starters.
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