We’ll never know how Alex Cobb would have responded this year to a normal spring training. To the usual progression from bullpens to exhibition games to opening day if he hadn’t waited until March 21 to sign with the Orioles.
Peterson delivered a tie-breaking, two-run double in the second inning, but Cobb faltered and the Orioles were beaten 8-4 before an announced crowd of 8,730 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles have lost 12 of their last 14 games and are 6-18 overall.
Chance Sisco hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth to reduce the lead to 5-4, but Adeiny Hechavarria countered off Castro in the top of the sixth. No shutdown inning and no solution to what’s ailing the Orioles, who are 3-8 at home.
Ten straight Orioles were retired after Sisco’s home run until Adam Jones doubled with two outs in the eighth.
Tanner Scott allowed two more runs in the seventh, as the Rays opened up an 8-4 lead and closed whatever talk lingered about a difficult schedule. This was a fourth-place team, five games below .500 before tonight, that did the thumping at Camden Yards.
Cobb was charged with five runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, with one walk - to the last batter faced - and no strikeouts. He threw 77 pitches, 46 for strikes.
All three starts have resulted in Cobb allowing 10 hits. His ERA dropped tonight from 15.43 to 13.11 in 11 2/3 innings.
Cobb threw 21 pitches in the first inning while falling behind 1-0. Denard Span doubled on the first offering and later scored on Brad Miller’s bouncer to second. Cobb drilled Daniel Robertson on the left hand with two outs before retiring Joey Wendle on a grounder. Chris Davis made a diving stop along the line and threw to Cobb from the seat of his pants.
Adam Jones’ RBI double in the bottom half tied the game. The Orioles have been outscored 26-7 in the first inning.
Cobb blanked the Rays in the second, third and fourth innings, allowing an infield hit in each inning, but the first three batters reached in the fifth, with C.J. Cron’s two-run double tying the game. Brad Miller’s sacrifice fly gave Tampa Bay the lead, Daniel Robertson doubled and Wendle followed with an RBI single.
The walk issued to Wilson Ramos was the final straw.
Jake Faria allowed four hits in 4 1/3 innings - doubles by Jones, Anthony Santander and Peterson and Sisco’s home run. Jones plated Trey Mancini in the first and Peterson brought home Pedro Álvarez and Santander - who was in a 3-for-30 slump - in the second.
Sisco’s home run offered hope. The bullpen extinguished it. And the Orioles fell to 1-4 on the current homestand.
Rays left-hander Jonny Venters entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning for his first major league appearance since Oct. 5, 2012 in the National League wild card game while pitching for the Braves. He’s undergone three Tommy John surgeries on his left elbow.
Davis grounded out and Venters was replaced after four pitches. A nice moment, no matter how brief.
Nothing nice about being four games behind the fourth-place Rays.
Manager Buck Showalter on Cobb: “I think he found his, I don’t know, mechanically and tempo a little bit after the first inning and he was pretty good for a while, and then the counts, just missed with some pitches. He’s closer. He’s going to be fine. It’s frustrating for him because he’s really trying to deliver something in a time of need. It’s kind of like a guy with a lot of power that’s swinging and missing. It’s got to be frustrating when you know you have that type of potential there and you’re not quite there yet. He will be.”
Showalter on whether the weather was factor in fifth: “It could be, it could be. I haven’t asked him that. We play in all types of conditions. If I know Alex, that will be the last thing he’ll use. But that can always be a factor.”
Showalter on Cobb’s frustration: “I don’t know about frustration, but I guess some form of it. Sometimes, you can want something too much. We know what he’s going to bring over the long haul. It’s just, it’s a situation where he’s kind of getting a little bit better, I think, each time. He had a little more fastball tonight. Had a couple borderline pitches he just missed and some balls he got in some areas he didn’t want to get into. He knows right from wrong. He’s just trying to execute and it’s not quite there. He knows when it’s right and he knows when it’s not. He’s a tough evaluator, almost to a fault”
Showalter on whether he received an update on Tim Beckham: “Yes, but I don’t know if I’m at liberty to say. How’s that for being frank and honest, as opposed to lying and conniving. Medically and stuff, it’s really not in my ... I know something could change between now and tomorrow. I really haven’t gotten anything since an hour or so before the game. I think I know where it’s headed, but something could change. A lot of people have weighed in on it that should. It’s Tim’s decision and we’ll support him whichever way it goes.”