ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Too many times this year as the Orioles have fallen further in the American League standings and deeper into long-term uncertainty have performances like Friday's 8-2 loss to the Texas Rangers come along to crush whatever hope they had left.
Right-hander Chris Tillman labored through 4 1/3 innings and left with eight runs on his account. The offense wilted in the Texas heat, managing a pair of runs on six hits. And the Orioles lost their third straight game to fall to 48-54 overall and 18-33 away from Camden Yards.
All of the team's problems were on display at Globe Life Park as the nonwaiver trade deadline approaches Monday, and with two games left against a Rangers team they swept at Camden Yards last week and are still battling for playoff positioning, each deficiency grows more magnified.
"Honestly, we come every day here and we try to do our best, all the time," catcher Welington Castillo said. "We try to compete. We try to score as many runs as we can, and the pitchers try to do their best. Stuff happens. I think just stuff happens. Everybody here is trying to do their best, honestly. Even though we see the results are not there, the results that we want are not there, I guarantee you everyone here is going out there and giving it their best."
Even with two strong starts under his belt since the All-Star break, Tillman labored early and didn't get into a groove until it was too late. He walked designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo to open his evening, then saw him go to second on a single by shortstop Elvis Andrus. Both scored on the first of three doubles by right fielder Nomar Mazara to stake the Rangers to an early 2-0 lead.
"His command wasn't there from the get-go," manager Buck Showalter said. "He survived a little bit with the changeup and slider. That was about it. I'm sure we'll look back through it and see how many times he missed location with a fastball. That's something he's been doing a better job with until tonight."
After a scoreless second, Tillman again walked Choo to open the third before Andrus hit his 14th homer of the year to left field to double the lead. Mazara doubled again and scored on a broken-bat single by third baseman Adrian Beltre to make it 5-0.
Three more runs scored in the fifth inning, and Tillman ended up going 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts to bring his ERA to 7.65.
He fell to 1-6, and hasn't won since making his season debut May 7.
Tillman said it was odd to have his stuff come and go as it did Friday, and indicated there were some physical limitations.
"My arm was good," he said. "I had the full-body cramps going on, but other than that ... my arm felt great. Physically, it felt good. Just cramping here and there."
"That's what he told me," Castillo said. "I knew something was going on with him, he just didn't want to tell me. I know he was battling out there, it was really hot. I don't blame nobody. He's just trying to compete out there and do his best to give a chance to win to the team. I knew there's something going on with him but he didn't tell me. It's one of those days. It's one of those days when your whole body cramps or whatever it is. It's like you don't have it. You are fighting your body to try to do your best and try to make pitches."
Schoop still swinging
The Orioles never got much going off Rangers starter Andrew Cashner, with their first base runner reaching second base in the fifth inning and their first run coming on a solo home run by second baseman Jonathan Schoop in the sixth inning.
Schoop has homered in consecutive games to bring his team-leading total to 23 on the season.
First baseman Chris Davis had a walk and a pair of base hits, with the second scoring a run in the eighth inning. Castillo had two hits, and his third-inning single was his 500th career hit.
The chase for 3,000
Beltre's single in the third inning was the 2,997th of his career, and he moved one closer to 3,000 with a single in the fifth inning. Showalter brought in right-hander Mychal Givens to face him in the eighth inning, and he popped up.