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Orioles drop Saturday game to Rays, 5-1; Cashner, offense fall flat

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Cashner allowed 11 hits on the afternoon and the Orioles offense could never get going against Tampa Bay on Saturday.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles were back at The Trop on Saturday for a weekend matchup against the Rays that didn’t exactly go according to plan. Tampa Bay jumped out to a very early lead, the offense could never get going and there really wasn’t much more to the story. Another day, another very difficult loss for the Birds.

If you’d like to relive the details of a tough Saturday afternoon AL East matchup, those are below. If not, you can find the Orioles back in action tomorrow at 1:10 p.m.

The recap

If you were looking for Andrew Cashner to settle in and offer up a stellar performance in this game, your hopes were quickly wiped away after the first two innings. Things didn’t go well for the first-year Oriole and they never returned to any type of positive form.

In the bottom of the first after the O’s offense failed to produce much of anything, the middle of the Rays lineup quickly put a jolt into things at Tropicana Field and gathered an early lead. After a C.J. Cron one-out single, Joey Wendle hit a triple into the right-field corner that would account for the first run of the afternoon. With a Wilson Ramos double that quickly followed, it was 2-0 Rays before anyone could get settled in.

The Rays pitched Ryne Stanek for a spot start to mix things up from a “bullpenning” standpoint. He ended up retiring the five batters he saw — three on strikeouts — before handing the game over to Anthony Banda with a pair of outs in the top of the second. As the Birds stayed off the scoreboard, the Rays continued to waste no time bumping the lead up against Cashner.

After allowing a pair of singles to put runners on the corners with nobody out to start the bottom of the second, Cashner allowed a Rob Refsnyder single to right field to make it 3-0. He’d get a strikeout of Brad Miller to notch two outs and try to end the threat without any damaging mess, but Cron struck again to abruptly make it 5-0. He laced one to the right-center gap that good enough to score a pair, putting another crooked number on the board before Cashner could get six outs.

Another day, another bad start.

Cashner would work out of that and proceed to get out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth, but there was simply no consistency or reliability from his offerings throughout the afternoon. He managed to settle down enough to get to the sixth inning, but not without a hefty load of drama.

After a Daniel Robertson double to lead off the inning, Cashner walked both Carlos Gomez and Refsnyder to load the bases with nobody out. With 93 pitches under his belt, Buck Showalter had seen enough to turn the keys over to the bullpen — namely, an unlucky Taner Scott who inherited the mess. It looked fairly bleak, but Scott managed to flash what he’s been known to flash throughout his time as a prospect.

His fastball/slider duo worked to perfection, striking out the next three batters to extinguish the threat and send the game to the seventh with just a 5-0 Tampa Bay lead. It’s the little victories!

Through all of this, the Orioles offense was somewhat... actually, very nonexistent. Six innings in, the lineup had produced just one hit and eight strikeouts. The start from Cashner wasn’t great, but he was hardly the only one to blame for this loss. It was a team effort in every way.

Thanks to a Manny Machado double in the seventh inning, there was at least a glimmer of positivity from the offense on the afternoon. He was driven in with two outs by a Chris Davis single to left field to make it 5-1, the most excitement that this game saw. Aside from that, Banda twirled an absolute gem of a game.

He tossed 6.1 brilliant three-hit innings, striking out seven along the way. He was relieved by old friend Chaz Roe in the final frame, who collected the last three outs to send the Rays home the winners.

The Orioles will be back in action tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. in Tampa Bay. It will be Kevin Gausman going for his fourth win of the season against Sergio Romo, the Rays listed starter.