After posting a 5-2 victory in Monday's series opener, the Rays had their five-game winning streak come to an end with last night's 4-2 setback. J.P. Howell permitted a two-run homer to Orioles catcher Matt Wieters in the decisive eighth inning to absorb the loss and starter David Price gave up two runs -- one earned -- over 6 2/3 innings of work.
Evan Longoria belted a two-run homer for the Rays, who had won eight of nine games and fell four games behind Boston for the American League Wild Card lead. The Rays can win their fourth straight series with a victory tonight.
"You can't help but watch, the scoreboard is right in your face," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of the chase for the wild card. "Realistically we're not going to win the rest of our games, hopefully we only lose a couple."
Wade Davis hopes to pitch the Rays to a win when he toes the rubber Wednesday. Davis has won back-to-back starts and went the distance for just the second time in his career in Friday's 7-2 win over the Red Sox. He gave up two runs and six hits, struck out eight batters and did not issue a walk.
The right-hander is 10-8 with a 4.36 ERA in 26 starts this season and defeated Baltimore on Sep. 3 in a 6-3 victory. He is 6-3 with a 3.76 ERA in 10 career starts against the Orioles. Davis owns a 5-4 mark in 12 road starts.
Baltimore ended a three-game slide with Tuesday's win thanks to Wieters' blast with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
"It was a great at-bat," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the Wieters home run. "He's been a rock for us, he's gotten better every year he's been here and I'm proud of him."
J.J. Hardy had two hits and Jake Fox drove in a run for the Orioles, winners in four of their last seven games.
Alfredo Simon started for the O's and did not record a decision after he hurled seven innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts. Troy Patton got the win with a scoreless inning of relief and Jim Johnson recorded the final out of the game for his fifth save.
The Orioles are scheduled to host the LA Angels of Anaheim for three games after this series and will send Jeremy Guthrie to the mound Wednesday. He is coming off Friday's 2-0 win at Toronto in which he delivered seven shutout innings of three-hit ball to improve to 7-17 in 31 games (29 starts) to go along with a 4.29 earned run average.
Guthrie has split his last six decisions and lost at Tampa Bay on Sep. 4 in an 8-1 defeat. He gave up seven runs -- three earned -- in five innings that day and is 6-10 with a 4.24 ERA in 20 career games, 18 of which have been starts, against the Rays. The righty is 3-7 at Camden Yards in 2011 and is trying to avoid becoming the first pitcher to lose 18 games in a season since Daniel Cabrera for the Orioles in 2007.
The Rays are 9-8 against the Orioles this season and have won five of the last seven meetings between the two clubs.