Even on a day where they lost and saw a seven-game win streak against American League East opponents come to an end, the Orioles did some impressive things.
They rallied from down 7-1 to within 7-6, but Tampa Bay had enough in the end to hold off the Orioles for a 9-8 win, denying the Birds their first three-game home sweep of the Rays since July 24-26, 2007.
Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer and Nick Markakis drove in three runs during Orioles rallies in the sixth and seventh. But Tampa Bay got back-to-back homers from Elliot Johnson and Ben Zobrist in the eighth off Troy Patton to maintain their lead.
Trailing by two, the Orioles scored once in the last of the ninth, but Fernando Rodney got Wieters to ground out with two down and runners on second and third to end it.
Two starts ago, Orioles opening day starter Jake Arrieta threw eight brilliant shutout innings in New York against the Yankees. Today, he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in an outing that was the shortest this year by an O's starter.
Tampa Bay came up with a pair of three-run innings against Arrieta, who gave up a season- and career-high 10 hits. He allowed seven runs and threw 79 pitches, too many of which found the middle of the plate to the liking of Tampa Bay hitters that had scored just six total runs in the first two games of this series.
Arrieta falls to 2-4 with an ERA of 5.21. He has allowed 13 earned runs in 10 innings over his last two starts for an 11.70 ERA and has given up four runs or more in six of his eight starts on the year.
Orioles starting pitchers now have just two quality starts over the past eight games and an ERA of 7.25 in that time.
Xavier Avery had his contract purchased from Triple-A earlier today and made his major league debut batting leadoff in left field, and went 0-for-4.
The Orioles fall to 22-13 on the year and 8-5 during a 15-game stretch against New York, Boston, Texas and Tampa Bay. The Rays improved to 21-14 with just their second win over the last eight games.
Now the Orioles welcome the Yankees to town for a two-game series beginning Monday night. At 2-4, the Yankees are the only AL East club the Orioles do not have a winning record against.
Pitching matchups for that series:
Monday at 7:05: Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.02 ERA).
Tuesday at 7:05: Wei-Yin Chen (3-0, 2.68 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (5-0, 3.51 ERA).