Struggling O’s offense gets shut out until ninth in loss to Tampa Bay

The Orioles’ flickering playoff hopes took another hit today and the issue, once again, was the club’s inability to hit.

Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts to the ninth before the O’s pushed across a run in a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay this afternoon. Cobb gave up just five hits over 8 1/3 to improve to 10-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

The Orioles got a break when Chris Davis hit a fly to left in the ninth; David DeJesus lost track of the ball, and it went for a triple. An Adam Jones RBI single made it a 5-1 game.

That triple gave Davis 93 extra-base hits to set an Orioles record, breaking the tie he held with Brady Anderson, who had 92 in 1996.

The Orioles had not scored since the seventh inning Friday night, and they have just seven hits over their last 20 innings. They avoided being shut out for the seventh time in 2013.

The Orioles scored five or fewer runs for the 18th straight game, and in that stretch, they’ve scored four or less 14 times. They have scored just six runs in the last four games, and 20 the last seven games.

This game was a scoreless tie until the last of the fifth. Miguel Gonzalez issued a pair of walks, and they proved very costly when Desmond Jennings hit a three-run homer. It was his career-high 14th homer, which gave the Rays the 3-0 lead. Jennings added an RBI double in the seventh as he drove in four to tie his career high.

Of the 24 homers Gonzalez has allowed this year, 12 have come in the fifth or sixth innings.

Gonzalez allowed just two hits over six innings with the three runs, five walks and two strikeouts. He falls to 10-8 with an ERA of 3.94 and is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.75 in four career starts at Tropicana Field.

The Orioles began the day 2 1/2 games out of the second AL wild card berth and won’t get any closer with this loss. They have now lost three in a row to fall to 4-4 on this road trip and to 81-73 on the year with eight games remaining.

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