O’s Spanked by Rays, 11-3, Finish Homestand 4-2; Pictures

After winning the first two games against the Rays in the three game series, the Orioles ran into a brick wall on a cool Easter Sunday. The Tampa offense came alive and they beat Baltimore, 11-3.

It was ugly as Adam Eaton — who Ihad very little confidence in — lasted only four innings and gave up four earned runs. He labored through the start, and by the time it was all over, Eaton threw 100 pitches in his outing; moreover, he was all over the place and found himself in trouble again and again. One would think if Eaton has another outing or two like this, he won’t be an Oriole for long.

If Eaton was bad, his replacement was even worse. Brian Bass who was horrible on Wednesday, sucked badly on Easter as he became Baltimore’s sacrifical lamb as he went 3 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on right hits all earned — including four home runs. Dennis Sarfate closed out the game by pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

The Orioles made things fun as they scored twice off reliever Grant Balfour in the ninth — who could not get anyone out and was charged with three runs given up; however, J.P. Howell saved the Rays and finished out the game. Adam Jones continued his hot start with two hits, and Luke Scott along with Felix Pie each drove in a run with bases loaded walks.

Evan Longoria went 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs (I’m sure the Orioles are glad he’s gone for a while), Jason Bartlett had three hits — including a homer and three runs scored. Ben Zobrist hit a three-run homer and Carlos Pena added a home run — a towering solo shot in the 8th — and Carl Crawford had a pair of hits and three RBI.

All things considered, the Orioles had a strong homestand going 4-2, and taking 2-out-of-3 from tough division rivals (Yankees & Rays). Sunday’s crowd was very small — only 15,000 — and one must assume it is because of the weather and Easter; however, the one thing I noticed today was the lack of ushers around the park. From what I have been told by a few people, the team has decided to cut down on personnel for non-prime, or well attended games, and I guess it is a byproduct of the economy as well the park’s attendance over the past few years.

The other news of the day was that Matt Albers was sent down to Triple-A Norfolk in favor of Adam Eaton, who was added the roster. Albers, who is coming back from an injury, has pitched so-so this week, but looked good on Saturday night and he was basically sent down because he’s got an option left. It looks like Albers was not happy with the demotion; however, with the way things may go in 2009, he’ll be back soon enough.

The O’s start a seven game road trip with three in Boston and four in Texas starting on Monday.

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles — April 12th, 2009