BALTIMORE — The Tampa Bay Rays missed an opportunity to gain ground in the wild card race, getting only three hits over seven innings against Jeremy Guthrie in a 6-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
After watching Boston lose to Toronto in an afternoon game, the Rays took the field with a chance to close within three games of the Red Sox in the AL wild-card hunt.
Instead, Tampa Bay lost its second straight to the last-place Orioles.
Next up for the Rays: Four games against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, beginning Thursday night. Tampa Bay swept a three-game series from Boston last weekend and is 9-5 against the Red Sox, including 4-1 on the road.
Guthrie (8-17), the major league leader in losses, tied a career high with 10 strikeouts. The right-hander gave up two runs to win a second consecutive start for the first time this season.
Guthrie improved to 6-10 lifetime against Tampa Bay, 2-3 this season. He also beat the Rays on opening day.
Jim Johnson worked the final two innings for his sixth save, the second in two nights.
Tampa Bay's Wade Davis (10-9) gave up a three-run homer to Chris Davis and a solo shot to Nolan Reimold. Wade Davis, who allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, is 4-1 in six career starts at Camden Yards.
Matt Wieters added a two-run shot in the eighth off Matt Moore, who was making his major league debut. It was Wieters' 20th home run, the third in three games.
If the Rays fall short in their bid to reach the playoffs, they can blame either a 1-8 start or their 9-9 record against the Orioles, who are 14-33 against the rest of the AL East.
Guthrie retired the first eight batters before Reid Brignac singled in the third. Reimold opened the bottom half with his 10th home run, a low-flying line drive that glanced off the top of the left-field wall and into the seats.
The lead didn't last long. Guthrie walked two of the first three batters in the fourth and Matt Joyce cleared the bases with a two-out double.
In the Baltimore half, Vladimir Guerrero beat out a slow roller to third, Wieters doubled and Chris Davis hit an opposite-field homer to left on an 0-2 pitch for a 4-2 lead.
Tampa Bay's final threat against Guthrie came in the seventh. Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk and took second on a single by Joyce before Guthrie sandwiched two strikeouts around a fly ball by John Jaso.
Rays OF Sam Fuld left in the fifth inning with a wrist injury. … Tampa Bay recalled LHP Alex Torres from Triple-A Durham and purchased the contract of 1B Dan Johnson from Durham, giving the team 34 players in uniform. … The Rays' rotation for the Boston series: Jeremy Hellickson (12-10), James Shields (15-10), Jeff Niemann (10-7) and David Price (12-12). Tampa Bay has held the Red Sox to a .177 batting average, including .158 in Boston. … Orioles CF Adam Jones (thumb) hopes to return Friday after missing a fifth straight start. He entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. … After a day off Thursday, the Orioles resume play Friday against another playoff hopeful, the Los Angeles Angels. Tommy Hunter (3-4) starts for Baltimore against Dan Haren (15-8).