Errors hurt Rays in third straight loss

Errors hurt Rays in third straight loss

Errors hurt Rays in third straight loss
BALTIMORE -- Not since the days of the "Devil Rays" has a Tampa Bay team experienced a night like Saturday night when the Rays committed five errors in a 5-3 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards with 32,862 in attendance.

The Rays have now lost six of their last seven to move to 20-14 on the season while the first-place Orioles surged to 22-12.

Tampa Bay was not known as the Rays on April 15, 2001, the last time the team reached the club record for errors in a game when the Devil Rays made five against the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

That team also lost 100 games.

Seeing a team built around pitching and defense like the vastly more accomplished "Rays" personified the troubles the team has experienced this past week.

"There's that fine line between winning and losing," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Now we're doing the things that are permitting us to lose, or causing us to lose. Where we were doing things that were permitting us to win prior to this, we weren't making the same mistakes."

Saturday night's contest started on a high note when Brandon Guyer homered to left off Brian Matusz, leading off the second to put the Rays up 1-0.

The Orioles answered in the bottom half of the inning with ample help from the Rays. Adam Jones led off the inning and hit a shot to third that Sean Rodriguez dove to stop before throwing wild to first base for the first error of the evening.

Jones moved to second when Rays starter Matt Moore delivered an errant throw to first on a pickoff attempt. With two outs, Steve Tolleson doubled down the left-field line to drive home both runners. Tolleson reached third when Guyer, the Rays left fielder, missed the ball.

Guyer's error gave the Rays three for the inning, which tied the club record for most errors in an inning. Saturday night was the seventh time in club history it has happened. The last time was July 2, 2007 in the eighth inning of a game in Cleveland.

The Rays' defense continued to leak oil in the fifth when Luis Exposito reached on catcher's interference by Chris Gimenez, which officially went into the scorebook as the Rays' fourth error.

J.J. Hardy singled one out later and Nick Markakis walked to load the bases for Jones, who lined a single through the middle to score two. In the process, Rays center fielder B.J. Upton bobbled the ball, which allowed Jones to reach second and hung a fifth error on the Rays' ledger to tie the club record for most errors in a game.

"You never see Tampa with five errors," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Just take advantage of them. Today wasn't the cleanest-played game, but we were able to get a bigger hit than them. That's a tough team. They're resilient. They never quit. I know they're missing their star player but they always give us a tough time. "

Making matters worse was the fact the Rays would like to get Moore on track. The left-hander, who was the fashionable preseason pick to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award, is now 1-3 after allowing four runs -- of which just one was earned -- while walking four and striking out six in 4 1/3 innings. Maddon said the errors cost Moore at least 15 to 20 pitches and he estimated that Moore would have pitched into the sixth without the errors.

"It's just one of those things," Gimenez said. "We're still looking for [Moore] to get his fastball command. And it's really close. It's just one of those things where he's really close. A pitch here, a pitch there and he doesn't get into that situation. And we really didn't help him out by making five errors tonight."

Moore allowed that the errors did not help his cause, but he accepted all the blame for his performance.

"Absolutely [the errors hurt]," Moore said. "I threw the ball away there to [Jeff Keppinger] to try and [get the] pick. But the defense can't defend walks and 2-0 counts and getting into those situations where I really have to make a good pitch. They can't defend walks, so there's really nothing to say about the errors."

Despite the miscues, the Rays remained in the game. Luke Scott's two-run single off Matusz in the sixth cut the Orioles' lead to 4-3.

However, the Orioles would pad their lead in the eighth when Bill Hall hit a solo home run to right field.

The Orioles' bullpen kept the Rays from making a comeback as they remained perfect in the series, retiring all 19 batters faced. The trio of Luis Ayala, Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson covered the final 3 1/3 innings.

The ever-positive Maddon refused to get down on his club following the defeat.

"Just [have to] keep grinding," Maddon said. "The time I get concerned is when the effort is lacking. And there's no lack of effort."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.