Posted October 02, 2012 on AP on Fox
The Baltimore Orioles are facing an uphill battle to win the AL East. Alex Cobb allowed two hits over seven innings Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Rays keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 victory over the Orioles. Baltimore already is assured of being in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, but still has its sights on outlasting the Yankees for the AL East title. The Orioles fell a game out of first place behind New York when the Yankees beat Boston. ''We didn't take care of our business,'' Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. ''We lost. When it comes to the Yankees, we can't control them. We can't control if they win or lose.'' The Orioles arrived in St. Petersburg for the season-ending series later than expected Sunday night after their plane had to divert to Jacksonville because of a fire in the galley. They officially clinched at least a wild-card berth when the Los Angeles Angels lost the second game of a doubleheader to the Texas Rangers late Sunday, and manager Buck Showalter, coaches and players celebrated by having a short meeting and toasting the accomplishment at the team hotel. ''We've clinched a spot, but we've got an opportunity to win the East. That's big,'' Jones said before the game. ''You get to put up a banner at Camden Yards. It speaks something about the team. It means you finished ahead of the Yankees and Boston and Tampa Bay, everybody.'' Showalter understands the divisional challenge, especially with the Yankees ending the regular season at home. ''We'll do what we can do,'' Showalter said. ''We have to take care of ourselves.'' Ben Zobrist hit his 20th homer and Chris Giminez had a two-run double off Wei-Yin Chen as the Rays pulled away from a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Cobb (11-9) yielded a fourth-inning single to J.J. Hardy and an opposite-field solo homer to Matt Wieters that had tied it in the top of the seventh. The Rays won for the 11th time in 12 games, a stretch that's kept them in contention for the AL's second wild-card. They began the night trailing Oakland by three games and must sweep the Orioles and hope the A's drop three straight to Texas to remain alive. Zobrist hit a solo homer in the fourth. The Rays scored three unearned runs off Chen (12-11) in the seventh, then added one in the eighth for a 5-1 lead. Chris Davis homered for the fifth straight game for Baltimore, a two-run shot off Kyle Farnsworth that trimmed Baltimore's deficit to 5-3 in the ninth. Fernando Rodney gave up singles to Jones and Wieters to put the potential tying runs on base. The Rays closer struck out Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds before getting Endy Chavez to hit a grounder back to mound to end the game. It was Rodney's 47th save in 49 opportunities. ''The 27th out wasn't made, so until that was made we're going to go as hard as we can go,'' Jones said. Showalter thought Jones might have rolled his ankle running the bases, but the outfielder said that was not the case. Cobb retired 10 in a row before Hardy singled between shortstop and third base for Baltimore's first hit. The 24-year-old right-hander walked Thome with one out in the fifth and Nate McLouth with one out in the sixth. McLouth stole second, but was stranded when J.J. Hardy grounded to shortstop and Davis took a third called strike. Wieters' career-high 23rd homer home run cleared the short wall in the left-field corner known as 162 Landing, the spot where Evan Longoria hit the 12th-inning homer that the sent the Rays to the playoffs on the final night of last season. The Rays took command again against Chen in the seventh, when Longoria reached base on third baseman Manny Machado's fielding error and eventually scored on Francisco's sacrifice fly. Sam Fuld on a chopper that bounced over Reynolds' head at first base, and Giminez followed with his two-run double that made 4-1. ''I should have caught it,'' Machado said. Chen, who's 0-4 over seven starts since last winning on Aug. 19, hasn't won since Aug. 19, allowed four runs - three of them unearned - and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The rookie walked one and struck out four. NOTES: The last Baltimore player to homer in six straight games was Reggie Jackson in 1976. ... Baltimore RHP Jason Hammel (sore right knee) threw five innings in the Florida instructional league and could be available to pitch for the Orioles late this week. ... Orioles RF Nick Markakis (broken left thumb) will have surgically-inserted pins removed in a week. ... Baltimore INF Wilson Betemit had a splint removed from his right wrist and will start a hitting progression in five to seven days. ... Orioles RHP Steve Johnson (sore left knee) is day to day. An MRI exam was negative.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Setting the Orioles' Playoff Rotation

Things are coming down to the wire, leaving Buck Showalter with some decisions to make as to how to utilize his pitching staff: The Orioles have clinched a play-off spot. Wow. That feels a little weird to write after the last 14 years (especially given expectations going into this season), but it's true. The team is guaranteed at least a Wild Card spot, and given the...

Orioles Injury News: Nick Markakis, Jason Hammel

While the Baltimore Orioles have guaranteed their spot in the postseason, their playoff roster continues to take shape. Baltimore received some good and bad news yesterday regarding two of their injured players; right fielder Nick Markakis and right-hander Jason Hammel. The Orioles announced that the pins in Markakis’ thumb won’t be removed for another week. The 28-year...

Chris Davis hits home run in sixth straight as Orioles win

Chris Davis hit a homerun for the six straight game tying a Baltimore Oriole record. Davis now has hit seven home runs over that span to take over the team lead with 33 home runs. He also leads the Orioles with 85 RBI. The homer, off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields, was the Orioles first hit of Tuesday night’s game. The Orioles won the game 1-0. Earlier this week the Orioles...

Let’s Go O’s! On to the playoffs!

The last time our Baltimore Orioles clinched a playoff berth I was 4 years old. This is new territory for myself as well as the generation that was “lost” in close to a decade and a half of consecutive losing seasons. But that’s all in the past now – we are losers no more, we are playoff starved no more. But this ride doesnt feel like its coming to an end anytime soon. We...

Orioles rekindle city's love of baseball

After the most eventful Sunday in recent Baltimore Orioles history -- an emergency landing in Jacksonville, Fla., followed by the mathematical clinching of their first postseason berth in 15 years -- star center fielder Adam Jones sought context. "I didn't know we were going to be as good as we were," Jones said, in a quiet moment at his locker Monday afternoon. "...

Orioles fans finally taste success

Seconds after the Orioles clinched a postseason berth Sunday night, I stared at my phone, waiting for the inevitable. My brother-in-law, Brian, bombarding me with text messages and demanding that I fulfill a promise to apologize to him in print if the Orioles made the playoffs. "It should probably start with, 'My brother-in-law is a genius,'" Brian said. "...

Updated version of “Orioles Magic”

Some local Baltimore artists and fans decided it was time to update the Orioles Magic song. What do you think, Birds fans? I certainly enjoy the video, but I think I prefer the retro, silly, classic lyrics and song style. Here’s the old one to compare.

Orioles hope to trade wild card for AL East flag

It's been a zany, unpredictable season for the Baltimore Orioles, so perhaps it's only fitting that the magical moment when they clinched a playoff berth occurred while they were on a chartered flight forced to land short of its destination. Instead of spraying each other with champagne - the intended celebration earlier Sunday - the players exchanged handshakes. And that...

Rays' Hellickson to start against Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles have done just about all they can to stay in contention for the AL East title. Their efforts still may not be enough, but being home for the wild-card game isn't the worst consolation. With a division title still a possibility, the Orioles hope to win their regular-season finale Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays and at least secure home-field...

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3

The Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 6-3 Sunday, then took scoreboard watching to a new level by staying on the field and rooting for the Texas Rangers to beat the Los Angeles Angels. If the Angels had lost, Baltimore would have clinched its first playoff berth since 1997. After celebrating their fourth straight win, nearly two dozen Orioles gathered around the first-base...

Orioles win, clinch playoff berth

BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he's challenged his team to always stay together. They've done that throughout the season and did so once more in an interesting way Sunday afternoon. Moments after the Orioles defeated Boston 6-3 the team came out on to the field at Camden Yards to watch the ninth inning of the Los Angeles-Texas game on the big video board...

Deion Sanders takes batting practice with the Baltimore Orioles (Pictures)

For those of you who forgot, NFL legend Deion Sanders played Major League Baseball with the Atlanta Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. Last week, "Neon Deion" got the chance to take some batting practice with the Baltimore Orioles since Orioles manager Buck Showalter coached Deion when he was in the minor leagues with the Yankees. Check out some of the photos that Deion...

Cobb's clutch performance briefly kept Rays alive

Alex Cobb has talked about how much he has enjoyed pitching for the first time in a pennant race. On Monday night, with the Tampa Bay Rays facing the possibility of elimination with a loss, Cobb came up with what manager Joe Maddon said was one of his best starts as a pro. Even so, by the end of the night, Tampa Bay was knocked out of the playoff race when the Oakland A's...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.