ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wasn’t aware of the Yankees-Red Sox score tonight. He was too preoccupied with his own team, which lost to the Rays, 5-3, at Tropicana Field.
The Yankees throttled the Red Sox, 10-2, leaving the Orioles one game back in the American League East.
“They win?” Showalter asked. “That’s a given. They’re playing home the rest of their games, so you know that’s a given. We’ll do what we can do.”
The Orioles couldn’t do much with Rays starter Alex Cobb, who held them to one run and two hits in seven innings.
“He’s been pitching well, as all their people do,” Showalter said. “That’s why they are where they are. They pitch well and they’re very deep, and tonight’s no different. But we had a shot because we pitched well. It’s a difficult task, but as long as you stay in that striking distance.”
The only run off Cobb came on Matt Wieters’ 23rd home run in the seventh inning.
“Matty gave us a big blow,” Showalter said, “and we let them back up off the deck the next inning.”
Wei-Yin Chen still hasn’t won since Aug. 19, though he allowed only one earned run tonight in 6 2/3 innings. All three runs in the seventh were unearned.
“He was solid, he was solid,” Showalter said. “This is his last regular-season start, and what he did for us this year, and hopefully he gets a chance to continue to... Tonight’s a great example. You know with their pitching, runs are going to be at a premium, and he gave us a great chance to win. I’m real proud of him. What a year he had.”
“I still feel good today and still feel the same,” Chen said through his interpreter, “but unfortunately I cannot help the team to get a win tonight.”
Chen’s start unraveled after Manny Machado committed his fifth error to open the bottom of the seventh inning.
“Actually, you cannot blame anyone because this is part of baseball,” Chen said. “The only thing I can control is the ball and the only thing I can pitch is the ball and throw the ball. That’s the only thing I can control.”
As for the lack of wins, Chen said, “That’s just stats. The only thing I wanted to prove to everybody is prove that I can pitch.”
Showalter stuck with Chen in the seventh, and right-handed hitting Chris Gimenez delivered a two-out, two-run double. He declined to bring in a right-hander Luis Ayala until after Gimenez’s hit, knowing Rays manager Joe Maddon would have countered with a left-handed pinch-hitter.
“Well, they’re going to bring (Matt) Joyce and (Luke) Scott off the bench,” Showalter said. “It’s 40-man roster time. Pick your poison. Chen’s doing well. He deserves a chance there. What did he give up, one earned run? We could talk about the whole 40-man roster stuff this time of year. (Maddon’s) got a lot of weapons there and he’s going to bring into the game who he wants there and we’ll take our chances there.”
Adam Jones appeared to be limping and Showalter said he would check on his center fielder after returning to the clubhouse.
“Only thing I can tell is he rounded second on the ground ball that was kind of muffed there and I bet he kind of rolled it trying to get back,” Showalter said. “Adam’s had so many things he’s fought through. A guy being able to play every game, a 162-game season, is one of the better accomplishments every year in sports. It’s amazing that any man can do that.”