ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays hope they don't have to find a way to jumpstart their sputtering offense minus slugger Evan Longoria.
The three-time All-Star third baseman left Saturday's night game against the Baltimore Orioles with a sore oblique muscle in his left side and the defending AL East champions are not sure of the severity of the injury or how long the their best player might remain out of the lineup.
``I'm hopeful it's only going to be a week or so,' Longoria said after a 3-1 loss in which the Rays were held hitless for six innings by right-hander Chris Tillman. ``I doesn't feel like something's that's going to keep me off the field for a long time.'
The Rays said Longoria, 0 for 1 with a walk before being removed from the game in the sixth inning, will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
``We're just going to try to be cautious with it,' manager Joe Maddon said.
Brian Roberts hit a three-run homer and Nick Markakis made a leaping catch at the wall in the ninth to preserve Baltimore's victory, but Longoria's injury was the biggest concern in the Rays' clubhouse.
Through two games the offense has produced two runs on just eight hits, however, Maddon and his players insisted they are not alarmed.
``We've just been outpitched,' Maddon said.
``We're fine,' center fielder B.J. Upton offered. ``It's too early to start panicking. We'll move past this and be fine.'
Tillman, making the 24th starter of his career, lost his bid for a no-hitter when manager Buck Showalter lifted him after 101 pitches. Upton lined a two-out single off Jeremy Accardo (1-0) for Tampa Bay's first hit with two outs in the seventh.
The 22-year-old right-hander wasn't surprised by removed from the game.
``No, I was real inefficient the first couple innings,' Tillman said. ``Maybe a month down the road from now, I might still be in the game.'
Roberts drove in two runs with a triple on Friday night when Jeremy Guthrie pitched eight shutout innings in Baltimore's 4-1 season-opening victory. His eighth-inning homer off Jake McGee came after Mark Reynolds singled and J.J. Hardy drew a one-out walk from Rays starter James Shields (0-1).
With two runners on base, Ben Zobrist hit a drive to right and Markakis, taking a running leap into the padded wall, made the game-ending catch.
``I've said over and over again, it's a crime he hasn't won a Gold Glove by this point,' Roberts said of Markakis. ``To me, he's the best right fielder in the game. If you didn't believe before now, I hope you do now.'
Tillman walked three and struck out five in a start that was moved up a day after lefty Brian Matusz was scratched due to soreness on the left side of his mid-back. Matusz underwent an MRI exam Friday that found a strain in a muscle between the ribs and the back and is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks.
Accardo allowed two hits and escaped without allowing a run in the seventh when Felix Pie, who had entered the game as a pinch runner in the top half of the inning, made a perfect throw to the plate from left field to stop Upton from scoring on Kelly Shoppach's sharp single to left field.
Tampa Bay's Manny Ramirez singled off Koji Uehara to drive in a run charged to Michael Gonzalez in the eighth inning.
Kevin Gregg pitched the ninth for Baltimore and benefited from Markakis' catch to earn his first save as an Oriole.
``I really thought Zo's ball was over the wall when he hit it,' Maddon said.
The Rays finished with four hits after being limited to the same number the previous night. Maddon conceded that two runs in two games is not getting the job done, however he found no fault with his team's effort.
``It's hard to win those games unless you shut the other team out two times,' the manager added. ``We've got to score more runs, obviously. ... And we will.'
Shields is coming off a season in which he lost a career-high 15 games, allowed an AL-leading 34 homers and led the majors by yielding 127 runs and 246 hits. He was winless over his final six outings of the season, going 0-4 after Aug. 29 and also lost his only start in the Rays' loss to Texas in the opening round of the playoffs.
On Saturday, he showed why he made three consecutive opening day starts for Tampa Bay before David Price, a 19-game winner a year ago, drew this year's assignment.
``Sometimes you can look good and you don't come out with the win,' said Shields, who allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. ``I hung in there as long as I could ... but Tillman was on his game.'
NOTES: Rays RHP Wade Davis will start Sunday's series finale. He's set to have his head shaved by a young pediatric cancer patient following the game as part of the pitcher's participation in ``Cut for a Cure,' benefiting the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and the Vincent Lecavalier Foundation.
The Associated Press News Service
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