Moments after the Orioles’ losing streak reached eight games, manager Mike Hargrove ripped his players behind closed doors.
“I think at times we were not mentally ready to play the game,” Hargrove said later. “You have that approach, and that’s what you’ll see.”
The uninspired effort left the Orioles a season-high 10 games under .500. Half the losses in the current skid have come against the Devil Rays, who have won 11 of 17 against Baltimore this year.
“We haven’t been winning, but today we beat ourselves,” Orioles catcher Brook Fordyce said. “It seemed like we were flat, or the intensity wasn’t there, and (Hargrove) brought it to our attention.”
The Devil Rays have won six of eight and are 19-13 since the All-Star break. Tampa Bay started the Orioles’ season-high skid with a three-game sweep last week.
Tampa Bay’s 11 wins against Baltimore is the most it’s had against any opponent in a single season. The last-place Devil Rays are just six games behind the Orioles for fourth place in the AL East.
“I can’t see us playing more confidently and much better than we are now,” Baldelli said. “Every day when we go out on the field, for at least the last two months, we go out there expecting to win.”
STANDINGS: Devil Rays - 5th place, 26 GB, AL East. Orioles - 4th place, 20 GB, AL East.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Victor Zambrano (9-6, 4.00 ERA). Zambrano has just one win over his last three starts despite a 1.74 ERA over that span. The 28-year-old hurler pitched eight scoreless innings and gave up three hits, but failed to earn a decision as Tampa Bay lost to Cleveland 1-0 on Friday.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Damian Moss (0-1, 3.38 ERA). The left-hander is still searching for his first win with Baltimore. Moss, 26, went 9-7 with a 4.70 ERA in 21 appearances with San Francisco, including 20 starts, before being traded to the Orioles in the Sidney Ponson deal at the trading deadline. Moss did not get a decision against the New York Yankees last Thursday, as he gave three runs and six hits over five innings of Baltimore’s 8-5 loss.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff, .305 avg., 20 HRs and 70 RBIs; Baldelli, 68 runs; Carl Crawford, 40 SBs. Orioles - Jay Gibbons, .294 avg. and 84 RBIs; Tony Batista, 21 HRs; Jeff Conine, 69 runs; Brian Roberts, 18 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Devil Rays, 11-6.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - OF Adam Piatt was claimed off waivers from Oakland on Tuesday. He’s expected to report to the team in Baltimore on Wednesday. … OF Crawford leads the AL with 40 SBs. … OF Baldelli is hitting .379 (25-for-69) against Baltimore. Orioles - OF Gibbons is 5-for-10 with a home run against Zambrano. … DH Jack Cust is batting .091 (1-for-11) lifetime against Tampa Bay. … RHP Jorge Julio has given up nine runs—six earned— over his last 1 1-3 innings pitched. Julio has converted 29 of his 36 save opportunities.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 22-39 on the road; Orioles - 31-32 at home.
INJURIES: Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 60-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Orioles - 1B-DH David Segui (wrist), 15-day DL; OF Melvin Mora (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Omar Daal (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (knee), 60-day DL; 2B Jerry Hairston Jr. (foot), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL.