The Tampa Bay Rays had just completed a winless road trip, and the clubhouse was still and silent as the players packed for home.
Unfortunately, there was no guarantee a change in venue would make a difference for a struggling team stuck in an 11-game losing streak.
Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis set the tone with a first-inning grand slam, and the Rays lost 12-5 Sunday to match their longest skid in seven years.
“We’re just not winning right now,” losing pitcher Drew Smyly said. “It’s going south. Something new every game. We’re just not clicking as a team.”
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Manager Kevin Cash found a few positives in Tampa Bay’s latest defeat, most notably the performance of newcomer Oswaldo Arcia, who homered and drove in three runs.
But it’s hard to be upbeat after an 0-7 swing through Cleveland and Baltimore – the third time in franchise history that the team has gone winless on a road trip of at least seven games.
“Losing is tough,” Cash said. “There’s no doubt about it. You find out a little bit about each other. You find out about your club. Nobody’s character is going away. We’re staying positive. I like the way the guys keep going out there and grinding it out.”
There might be some cause for optimism if the Rays were tough at home, but they’ve lost four straight on their own turf. They are 15-20 at Tropicana Field and one of four major league teams that has yet to win a homestand.
“It will be good to win,” Cash said. “Home, away, I don’t think anybody is really concerned about that. It will be good to win.”
Davis, Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo homered for the AL East-leading Orioles, whose 31-13 home record is the best in the majors. Baltimore has won five straight to climb a season-high 15 games over .500 (45-30).
Davis hit an opposite-field drive to left after the Orioles used a walk and two singles to load the bases with no outs against Smyly (2-8).
That sent Baltimore to its first four-game sweep in a rivalry that began in 1998. The Orioles are 7-2 against Tampa Bay this season, 6-0 at home.
The Rays have been outscored 72-29 during their skid and yielded at least five runs in each game.
Smyly endured five rocky innings, giving up eight runs and 10 hits – including three homers and three doubles. Before this outing, the left-hander was 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in eight career games against Baltimore.
Tyler Wilson (4-5) earned his first win in seven home starts this season despite allowing five runs and 10 hits over five innings.
After Desmond Jennings homered in the Tampa Bay second, Adam Jones dropped down a run-scoring bunt in the bottom half for the first of his four hits.
Schoop made it 6-2 with his 13th home run, but Arcia homered in the fourth and added a two-run double in the fifth to get the Rays within a run.
Manny Machado led off the Baltimore fifth with a double and Trumbo launched his AL-leading 22nd homer for an 8-5 lead.
Notes: Activated from the 15-day DL before the game, RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) gave up four runs in the eighth. The Rays cleared room for Webb by sending RHP Tyler Sturdevant to Triple-A Durham.
Who: Boston (41-34) at Tampa Bay (31-43)
When: Monday, 7:10 p.m.
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
Probable pitchers: Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 6.41) vs. Blake Snell (0-2, 2.40)
Radio: 620 AM
Tickets: 1-888-FAN-RAYS or at stadium ticket office
Promotion: Military Mondays