Lowe hits 29th homer, Rays extend Orioles’ skid to 15 games

Orioles_Rays_Baseball_34913 Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe, right, celebrates with Brett Phillips after Lowe hit a two-run home run off Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jorge Lopez during the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Orioles_Rays_Baseball_49121 Tampa Bay Rays' Shane McClanahan pitches to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Orioles_Rays_Baseball_63124 Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi watches his two-run single off Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Marcos Diplan, left, during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Orioles_Rays_Baseball_36081 Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan delivers to the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Orioles_Rays_Baseball_89966 Baltimore Orioles' Jorge Lopez pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla, (AP) — Brandon Lowe hit his career-high 29th homer, Shane McClanahan won his fourth straight start, and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays handed the Baltimore Orioles their 15th consecutive loss, 7-2 on Thursday.

The Orioles also dropped 14 in a row from May 18-31. The team record losing streak is 21 games, set at the beginning of the 1988 season.

Baltimore has been outscored 138-42 during the current skid. Its starting pitchers are 0-12, allowing 63 earned runs in 61 2/3 innings.

“It’s not easy right now,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re not in many games, and that’s hard.”

Tampa Bay has won 11 of 14, and is 15-1 in the season series with the Orioles.

“The vibe in the clubhouse is good,” Lowe said. “Everybody is happy, we’re feeling good.”

The Rays now open a three-game home series Friday night against the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox.

“This is going to be kind of what we’re looking at postseason-wise, I feel like,” Lowe said. “You know the White Sox are going to make it, we feel like we’re going to make it. I think the games are going to be a little bit tougher, it’s going to be a little bit lower-scoring ballgames but it’s going to be a hard-fought battle for the whole series.”

Jorge López (3-14) became the majors’ first 14-game loser, allowing four runs, four hits, two walks and hitting a batter over two innings. The right-hander was checked by a trainer with two outs in the first, which Hyde said came about because his velocity drastically dropped.

“He said he felt fine,” Hyde said. “He’s just working through some things right now.”

Hyde added “it’s too early” to say if López needs some extra time off.

“I worked my whole life to get here and that’s the last thing I will do is just give up,” López said.

Lowe connected on a two-out, two-run drive that made it 4-0 in the second. Lowe has six homers and 17 RBIs over his last 12 games.

McClanahan (8-4) gave up one run and five hits in five innings. He struck out eight and walked one.

Austin Meadows picked up his 83rd RBI with a two-out bases-loaded walk and Ji-Man Choi had a two-run single to put the Rays ahead 7-0 in the fourth. Meadows also drew a free pass with the bases loaded during a two-run first.

Baltimore’s Richie Martin had a fifth-inning RBI single, and Ramón Urías hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth.

QUIET IN HERE

The announced crowd at Tropicana Field was 5,826, bringing the total for the four-game series to 22,754.

FRUSTRATION

Orioles CF Cedric Mullins slammed his bat into the ground and broke it after popping out with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh.

NUMBERS

The Rays’ magic number to eliminate Baltimore in the AL East race is six. … The Orioles (38-82) clinched a fifth consecutive under-.500 season. … Tampa Bay has outscored the Orioles 128-57 in the season series. … According to ESPN Stats & Info, the Orioles are the first team since 1900 to lose 15 straight games by multiple runs. … Baltimore’s Ryan Mountcastle (11 games) and Jorge Mateo (10 games) extended their hitting streaks.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Trey Mancini (sore left calf) was the DH after missing two games. … OF DJ Stewart (sore knee) sat out for the second consecutive day. … RHP Hunter Harvey (right lat strain) will be evaluated after his next rehab appearance in a couple days.

Rays: C Mike Zunino (toothache) was out of the lineup. … Manager Kevin Cash said RHP Ryan Thompson (right shoulder) felt “OK, not great” after throwing a scoreless inning Wednesday night for Triple-A Durham. … 1B-OF Jordan Luplow (left ankle strain) was placed on the 10-day IL.

UP NEXT

Orioles: LHP Keegan Akin (0-7, 8.13 ERA) and Braves LHP Max Fried (10-7, 3.78) are Friday night’s starters in Baltimore.

Rays: RHP Michael Wacha (2-4, 5.91) and White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (9-9, 3.83) will square off Friday night.

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