BALTIMORE — Buck Showalter has been so busy trying to improve the Baltimore Orioles, the veteran manager didn't know he was on verge of his 900th win until his daughter reminded him in a phone call early in the week.
"She made me aware of it. I'd forgotten it a little bit," Showalter said Saturday night after he reached the milestone with an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
"It means I've had some good players and someone's given me an opportunity to do this a long time," he said. "That's about the extent of it."
Showalter, 54, became the 64th manager in big league history to win 900 games. No one has to tell him he's also lost 846.
"I've had a lot of losses, too. I remember just about every one of those," he said. "Just reminds you how lucky you are to do this, to have a chance to do it. Had a lot of good players."
Nick Markakis homered and scored twice to back an effective pitching performance by Jeremy Guthrie, helping the Orioles improve to 18-13 under Showalter. Before he arrived, Baltimore was 15-39 under Dave Trembley and 17-34 with interim manager Juan Samuel.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has 424 wins, including 33 with Anaheim.
"I've got 500 more to go," Maddon, 56, said with a grin. "Buck's done it for a long time. He's very good at what he does. He's going to be around for many more years. He's a very young man."
Matt Wieters and Felix Pie each had two hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who broke a three-game skid.
Guthrie (9-13) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out seven. Since the All-Star break, he's 6-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts.
John Jaso, Matt Joyce and Brad Hawpe hit solo homers for Tampa Bay. Jaso opened the game with his fifth home run, and Joyce and Hawpe went back-to-back off Koji Uehara with two outs in the ninth.
The loss dropped the Rays 2 1/2 games behind first-place New York in the AL East. Tampa Bay is 5-2 in its last seven games, but the Yankees have won eight straight.
"I've been through this before in Anaheim, where the team ahead kept winning but so did we," Maddon said. "Now we lost tonight but nevertheless it's kind of like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. We're not at the end of the movie yet. We have not arrived at the last scene. We're still at, 'Who are those guys?'"
The Rays gained a half-game on Boston in the wild-card race, opening up a 7 1/2-game lead after the Red Sox got swept by Chicago. But Tampa Bay isn't looking at that aspect of the playoff hunt.
"You want to win the division. That's first and foremost," starter James Shields said.
Shields (13-12) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings. The right-hander was 4-0 in eight career starts at Camden Yards.
Jaso put the Rays in front with his second career leadoff homer, a drive that traveled an estimated 436 feet into the center-field seats. In the bottom half, Brian Roberts hit a leadoff single and Markakis followed with his ninth home run – the first since Aug. 5.
"I left a pitch up, fell behind in the count to Markakis," Shields lamented.
Baltimore went up 5-1 in the third. After Shields walked Luke Scott with the bases loaded, Wieters hit a two-out, two-run double.
"I don't think I did a very good job of getting ahead in the count today," Shields said, "but I had some bad luck and didn't make the pitch when I needed to, bases loaded with Wieters."
Carl Crawford doubled and scored on a double by Joyce in the Tampa Bay fourth. Guthrie then walked Hawpe before striking out B.J. Upton.
A one-out double by Scott in the fifth chased Shields, and Pie greeted Jeremy Hellickson with an RBI double. After a single by Wieters, Julio Lugo hit a run-scoring grounder for a 7-2 lead.
The Orioles used three straight two-out singles to add a run in the sixth. The last one, by Pie, scored Ty Wigginton on a very close play at the plate.
Baltimore CF Adam Jones missed a third straight game with upper back soreness. Showalter said, "I don't think him playing is imminent." … Tampa Bay went a 10th consecutive game without an error, its longest run of the season. … Maddon fell to 391-392 as manager of the Rays. He was bidding to go over .500 for the first time since he was 7-6 in 2006.
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