- Associated Press - Monday, August 25, 2014

BALTIMORE (AP) - At a point in the season when the Tampa Bay Rays can’t afford even the slightest misstep, Jake Odorizzi stumbled mightily in the worst start of his major league career.

The rookie right-hander allowed eight runs, 11 hits and four home runs - all career highs - in a 9-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

Odorizzi (9-11) didn’t get an out in the fourth inning before being lifted. The loss dropped Tampa Bay 11 games behind the AL East-leading Orioles and stalled the Rays’ bid to make up ground in the wild-card chase.

“It was an overall lousy night,” Odorizzi said. “I’m frustrated because I feel like I let the guys down. We need every win we can get now and I didn’t keep us in the game.”

After the Rays scored an unearned run in the third inning, Baltimore went up 3-1 in the bottom half. Nick Markakis snapped an 0-for-21 skid with a two-run drive and Steve Pearce followed with his 15th homer.

The Orioles pulled away with a six-run fifth. Three straight singles produced a run before Delmon Young hit a three-run drive to left. J.J. Hardy chased Odorizzi with a shot to center, and Chris Davis greeted Kirby Yates with his 22nd home run.

It was the first time since May 2012 that the Orioles homered in three successive at-bats.

Odorizzi’s lamentable performance inflated his ERA from 3.83 to 4.23.

“Jake has been hit a little bit this year, but he hasn’t been hit like that in a long while,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Tampa Bay still has three games left in the series to make up some ground, so Maddon won’t dwell on this lopsided defeat.

“We just take this one and throw it in the trash and come back tomorrow,” he said. “We can still win the series, and that’s always our objective.”

After totaling four runs and 13 hits in three straight road losses to the Chicago Cubs, the Orioles got 14 hits against a Tampa Bay staff that had a major league-best 2.28 ERA since the All-Star break.

“He’s been throwing the ball good but he missed up a little tonight,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said.

Chris Tillman (11-5) yielded an unearned run and three hits in seven innings. He is 4-0 in eight starts since July 18.

“Tillman has turned into a pretty good pitcher,” Maddon said. “He doesn’t throw hard but he gets a lot of ground balls.”

Story Continues →