It remains to be seen whether Ubaldo Jiménez gets another chance to make a good last impression in the waning days of his four-year career in Baltimore, but Friday night’s performance against the Tampa Bay Rays certainly didn’t qualify.
Jiménez pitched a perfect first inning and then allowed six runs on eight hits before he could get six more outs in an 8-3 loss before 28,835 at Camden Yards.
Though it is a virtual certainty that he just pitched his last game here as an Oriole, the club has seven games left to play and he could get another start or relief appearance during the team’s final series of the season against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
As so often has been the case, his performance unraveled in a heartbeat and the Orioles could not recover, falling to 74-81 to assure they will finish no better than at .500.
He hit the leadoff batter in the second inning and gave up two groundball singles to load the bases before Rays catcher Wilson Ramos hit a mammoth grand slam deep into the bleachers behind left-center field. All of that took place in the span of just nine pitches.
“Starting that inning, I didn't want to hit the first baseman, especially after having him two strikes,” Jiménez said. “And then the next two batters, I got a couple ground balls but they were able to find the hole, and the next pitch was a homer.”
The Orioles answered with two runs off Rays starter Alex Cobb in the bottom of the inning, but Jiménez (6-11) allowed a leadoff homer to Evan Longoria in the third and also allowed a two-out RBI single to Adeiny Hechavarria as the Rays (75-79) re-extended their lead to four runs.
“We get back in it, 4-2, and go out and give two right back to them,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “So that kind of took away any momentum we were trying to garner. We had some opportunities against Cobb to get back in it, but we couldn’t get that one hit we needed.”
The Orioles tried to chip away at it. Chris Davis led off the fourth inning with his 25th home run of the season, but the Rays answered again — this time against reliever Miguel Castro — with a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Corey Dickerson.
If it was any consolation, Davis’ home run marked the first time the Orioles had scored in multiple innings in a game since they scored in each of the first five innings of Monday night’s series opener against the Boston Red Sox.
Cobb pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits to get the decision, improving his record to 12-10.
Jones climbs hit ladder: When Adam Jones singled in each of his first two at-bats Friday, he tied and passed Brady Anderson to move into fourth place on the Orioles’ all-time hit list with 1,615. It’ll take a while to reach the next rung on the hit ladder, since Eddie Murray is third with 2,080.
So does Davis: Davis hit his 224th career home run as an Oriole in the fourth inning to pass Rafael Palmeiro and move into sole possession of sixth place on the team’s all-time home run list. Jones is fifth with 248.
Opportunity lost: The Orioles ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the third when Manny Machado was thrown out at the plate trying to score from second on Jones’ single. Third base coach Bobby Dickerson sent Machado even though left fielder Corey Dickerson had the ball in hand as Machado was reaching third base. Instead of a bases-loaded, one-out situation with the Orioles trailing by four runs, they had one more chance to make something out of a three-hit inning. And Trey Mancini struck out.
Rays record: When Longoria homered in the third inning, the Rays tied their single-season record for home runs with 216, which was set last year. The Orioles entered the evening leading the major leagues with 228 homers.