BALTIMORE - This homestand hasn't been a successful one for the Baltimore Orioles, who are experiencing their first prolonged slump of the season.
Tampa Bay completed a three-game sweep Sunday with a 3-1 win over Baltimore in front of 37,704 at Camden Yards, leaving the Orioles winless in five straight and without a victory on their current eight-game homestand. They endured an offensive onslaught by the Rays, who scored 25 runs on 35 hits in the series and left tied with Baltimore for third place in the AL East standings at 23-20.
After losing two straight to San Diego to open the homestand, the Orioles dropped three in a row to the Rays and host New York for the final three games starting Monday. They fell to 9-11 at home this season and 9-9 against divisional foes with seven straight upcoming with the Yankees and Toronto.
"Every team is going to go through their losses, whether it's five in a row, six, seven," said right fielder Nick Markakis. "It doesn't make a difference. We know that we're in a tough stretch right now. We've got to put it past us.
"Every team has gone through their troubles, and we're in ours right now, and we've got to fight through it and move on. We've got a lot of baseball left."
Rays starter Matt Moore was Baltimore's nemesis Sunday, and the left-hander improved to 8-0 behind seven strong innings.
Moore scattered five hits and struck out three in keeping the Orioles quiet at the plate.
Tampa Bay got solo home runs from Luke Scott and Matt Joyce, who created a little controversy with his line drive in the sixth inning.
Joyce's shot appeared to carom off the wall beneath the foul pole in right field. First base umpire Dan Iassogna ruled it a fair ball and Joyce stopped at second, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter came out to dispute the call.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn't long behind, claiming Joyce's ball hit the bottom of the foul pole.
The umpires huddled on the field for several minutes, then left to use video replays before determining the result: home run.
"I've got a guy who lets me know if I have a good argument, so I knew once they went inside it was going to be a home run," Showalter said.
Joyce's eighth homer of the season made it 3-1 for the Rays, who had more than enough offense to make Moore the first eight-game winner (8-0) in baseball this season.
Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney tossed a perfect ninth inning to post his eighth save.
Meanwhile, Baltimore starter Chris Tillman went six innings and allowed three runs on five hits. It was a quality start by definition, his sixth in a row, but it wasn't enough to help snap the Orioles out of their current funk.
"I made a couple mistakes and they capitalized on it," said Tillman, who fell to 3-2. "They put some good swings on some pitches that I left up in the zone."
The Orioles, who have lost seven of their last nine, tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth when Manny Machado led off with a triple -Joyce and Desmond Jennings nearly collided when they both tracked Machado's fly ball to right-center - and Adam Jones scored him with a single to left.
Jones then stole second and third base but was stranded, part of Baltimore's 1-for-7 showing with runners in scoring position.
"You've got to show up every day," Jones said. "Things happen. We've got a five-game losing streak. There were a few games there we could have turned it around and won, but that's neither here nor there. It's baseball."