Loss to Tampa Bay means Baltimore goes to Texas on Friday
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria hit three home runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Baltimore 4-1 on Wednesday, ending the Orioles' bid to force a one-game tiebreaker for the American League East title.
The loss on the final day of the regular season left the Orioles as the second wild-card team. They will play Friday at Texas, with the winner advancing to the division series. The O's would have hosted the Rangers had they beaten the Rays.
Baltimore began the day one game behind the New York Yankees in the division. The Orioles needed a win plus a loss by the Yankees to Boston to pull even, but New York rolled 14-2.
Longoria finished the season with a bang for the second straight year, hitting solo shots off Chris Tillman in the first and fourth innings and adding another solo shot off Jake Arrieta in the sixth.
With a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, Longoria grounded out in the eighth.
Longoria's second career three-homer game came a year after the three-time All-Star hit two of them on the final night of last season, including a 12th-inning game-ending shot that clinched a postseason berth. His bid for the first four-homer game in franchise history ended when he grounded out against Pedro Strop in the eighth.
Ryan Roberts also homered for the Rays in the fourth against Tillman (9-3).
Jeremy Hellickson (10-11) allowed one hit -- Adam Jones' fourth-inning single -- in 51Ú3 innings. Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney teamed to hold the Orioles to two hits -- J.J. Hardy's double and Matt Wieters' single, both in the ninth inning -- the rest of the way.
Jones ruined Tampa Bay's shot at a 16th shutout with a sacrifice fly off Peralta. After Wieters singled, Rodney was summoned to get the final out for his 48th save in 50 opportunities.
Chris Davis, who tied an Orioles record when he homered for the sixth straight game Tuesday night, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Longoria is 6-for-12 with three homers lifetime against Tillman, who lasted five innings and allowed three runs and four hits in his first loss since Kansas City beat him Aug. 11. The right-hander, who had gone 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his previous five starts, also allowed three homers in that game, matching his career high.
The Rays won 12 of 14 down the stretch, remaining in contention for the second AL wild card until the 160th game and finished with at least 90 wins for the third season.
Hellickson allowed three base?runners, two of them in the fourth inning when Jones singled to right-center after Davis struck out on a wild pitch that allowed the Orioles outfielder to reach first. The 2011 AL rookie of the year walked Manny Machado leading off the sixth and was replaced by McGee after getting the next batter, Nate McLouth, to pop out.