ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has no answers about the Rays' offensive woes at home.
J.J Hardy hit a grand slam, Nick Markakis added a solo shot and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Rays 9-3 on Sunday.
Tampa Bay has not scored more than five runs in any of its 22 home games, which is the longest stretch to open a season since the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas.
``It's no fun,' Maddon said. ``I've really tried to analyze it and think it all the way through, and I have no idea. It's just strange.'
Tampa Bay is averaging just 2.77 runs a game at home. Surprisingly, the Rays average 6.17 runs on the road.
``I would say it's weird,' Rays infielder Elliot Johnson said. ``We just haven't been putting up the runs.'
The task doesn't get any easier for the Rays, who will play the New York Yankees for the first time this season in the opener of a two-game series in Florida on Monday night.
``We play a very aggressive, physical game,' Maddon said. ``I may have seen, like, a little bit of tiredness out of the boys over the last two days, so (Monday) we're going to move everything back.'
``They're going to come to the ballpark later,' Maddon added. ``They're not going to hit on the field. Just get loose and play a game. We're going to go American Legion.'
Rays ace David Price, 19-4 against the AL East, will face A.J Burnett on Monday.
``You want to see how you match up against the other guys in the AL East,' Price said.
Tampa Bay right-hander Andy Sonnanstine (0-1) may have pitched himself out of the rotation, while the Rays' bullpen also struggled Sunday.
The Orioles loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs as reliever Rob Delaney walked all three batters - one intentionally - he faced. Hardy then put Baltimore up 8-2 when he hit his third career grand slam on a 2-0 pitch from Cesar Ramos. It was Hardy's first grand slam since May 12, 2007 while with Milwaukee against the New York Mets.
Jake Arrieta (5-1) allowed two runs and four hits over six innings for the Orioles, who took two of three from Tampa Bay.
The Rays got solo homers from Johnson and Matt Joyce. The AL East leaders (23-17) are 10-12 at home.
Joyce, who entered hitting an AL-best .360, went 2 for 3 with a walk one day after leaving the game with cramping in his right quadriceps. He hit his sixth homer this season in the eighth, which helped lift his average to .368.
Baltimore took a 3-0 lead during the third when Derrek Lee drove in two runs with a single off Sonnanstine. Markakis' solo homer gave the Orioles a 4-2 advantage in the fifth.
Johnson cut the Rays' deficit to 3-1 with his first major league homer in the third. Casey Kotchman made it 3-2 on a fourth-inning RBI single.
Sonnanstine, filling in for the injured Jeff Niemann, gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings. Niemann, on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained lower back, is making progress, but has not started a throwing program.
Maddon would not commit to Sonnanstine staying in a starting role.
``I'm not ready to say one way or the other right now,' Maddon said. ``This is something we definitely have to look at, there's no question.'
Notes: Rays LF Sam Fuld left the game with a cut upper lip, which occured on a stolen base attempt in the seventh. The cut required two stitches. ... Joyce's homer against Baltimore reliever Michael Gonzalez was his first off a left-hander, coming in his 67th at-bat.
The Associated Press News Service
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