St. Petersburg, Fla. — It took just one inning to stifle the Orioles' building momentum on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles could take many moral victories out of a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays – but now, as wins and losses matter most with Monday's nonwaiver trade deadline looming and the Orioles in fight-or-flight limbo – they meant little in the grand scheme of things.
Left-hander Wade Miley went six innings but allowed five runs in a 26-pitch second inning, sending the Orioles into another early-inning deficit they couldn't entirely recover from.
The Orioles (48-52) entered the night winners of six of eight, but after Tuesday's loss are now 4½ games back of the second American League wild-card spot with six teams – including the Rays -- between them and that spot.
"If that makes you play differently or have a different feeling about it in Game 100, I'd find that hard to believe," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said when asked whether these games took on greater meaning because of the deadline. "I certainly hope not."
Miley entered the night fighting a season-long battle with his control. He entered the game with an AL-high 59 walks, but on Tuesday his offerings found too much of the plate.
"Left balls up," Miley said. "Changeups up, sliders up. Left out over and they made me pay. As simple as that."
Miley needed just nine pitches to get through the first inning, but the Rays (52-49) loaded the bases against him with one out in the second on three singles.
Mallex Smith's single started the scoring, and No. 9 hitter Jesus Sucre's sacrifice fly to center scored another run, but the big blow came from Beckham, who hit a 1-0 changeup over the center-field fence.
Miley started Beckham – who entered the at-bat just 1-for-7 against him – with a changeup low, then threw another over the heart of the plate that Beckham rocketed an estimated 436 feet with an exit velocity of 105.4 mph.
"I was almost – I don't want to use the word 'babying' things – but I was kind of feeling it out instead of just letting it rip," Miley said of the second inning. "Feeling out the slider, feeling out the changeup. After that, I got pissed off and just crowded them. I told [catcher Welington Castillo], 'We're going to crowd them in until we can't crowd them in no more.' That's kind of what we did."
Miley didn't allow a hit after the second inning – three base runners reached on walks – but the damage had already been done.
"It was good after that," Showalter said. "One inning, sometimes at this level. … Kind of snowballed on him. I know that the balls-to-strikes may not show it, but his command, I thought was better, and he really gave us a chance there. A lot of guys, the negative thought is, 'I'm not going to have a good outing,' but he figured out a way to keep us in that ballgame and kept us from using up a lot of the bullpen. We got back in it because Wade didn't give in."
Miley started establishing his breaking ball and changeup inside to the Rays' right-handed batters after the second, an adjustment that occurred one inning too late.
"He was pounding the righties in making good pitches," Castillo said. "The four seam was getting way better after he started throwing the cutter in off the plate to the righties. … That's how he used to be. He used to pound righties in. … We see what the difference is when he's pitching inside."
The Orioles rallied to make it a one-run game and had the tying run on third base in the ninth after back-to-back two-out singles by Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop put runners at the corners, but Mark Trumbo hit into a game-ending forceout.
Joey Rickard had opened the ninth by reaching on a throwing error by Beckham, but Adam Jones followed by hitting into a 5-4-3 double play.
Faria shuts down Orioles
Rays rookie Jake Faria recorded his third quality start against the Orioles this season, holding them to two runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Faria recorded all five of his strikeouts in the first four innings, locating well with his fastball, on which he received 12 called strikes.
The Orioles put their first two hitters on in the second, but the inning stalled after Castillo hit into a double play. They also loaded the bases in the fifth against Faria with one out, but scored just one run, on Machado's sacrifice fly.
In three starts against the Orioles, Faria has a 3.60 ERA, allowing eight runs over 20 innings.
"He's got a winning pedigree," Showalter said. "He's got command. This guy was what, 17-4 [in 2015]? … Everything works off command of the fastball and in fact, I thought of the times we've seen him, was one time you might have had a shot at him. That's a real testament to him. They've done a nice job of developing him, especially as a starting pitcher. Not many guys walk around 17-4 in the minor leagues, right? Not that many people stay down there that long anymore at 17-4."
Mancini homers, reaches three times
Rookie Trey Mancini, who played first base Tuesday with starter Chris Davis sidelined for the second straight game with a virus, provided the Orioles' only power on the night with his 16th homer this season.
Mancini hit a solo blast to left field in the sixth, lining a 3-1 fastball into the left-field seats, a ball that was hit with an exit velocity of 106.5 mph. Mancini also singled and walked.
Castillo in the clutch
Castillo brought the Orioles within 5-4 with a two-run, two-out single into left field off former Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter in the eighth.
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One of those runs was charged to Faria.
But the Orioles were unable to capitalize further as pinch hitter Hyun Soo Kim struck out.
The rally began after Faria was chased from the game after issuing a one-out walk to Schoop. Hunter struggled to find the strike zone, walking Mancini and Seth Smith back-to-back after retiring Trumbo on a groundout.
Castillo took a 1-2 pitch between the infielders on the left side to score two runs, but Hunter recovered to strike out Kim.
"Always, always we think we have a chance," Castillo said. "We never give in. We never give up. We have a really good offense in here. We just have to put good at-bats together like we did today. We didn't get them today, but always we go out there and compete."