Sports

Orioles fall a game behind in AL East

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles are facing an uphill battle to win the AL East.

Alex Cobb allowed two hits over seven innings Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-3 victory over the Orioles. Baltimore already is assured of being in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, but still has its sights on outlasting the Yankees for the AL East title.

The Orioles fell a game out of first place when the Yankees beat the Red Sox in New York.

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Despite the win, the Rays were eliminated from playoff contention when the Athletics beat the Rangers.

‘‘We didn’t take care of our business,’’ Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. ‘‘We lost. When it comes to the Yankees, we can’t control them. We can’t control if they win or lose.’’

The Orioles arrived in St. Petersburg for the season-ending series later than expected Sunday night after their plane had to divert to Jacksonville because of a fire in the galley.

They officially clinched at least a wild-card berth when the Angels lost the second game of a doubleheader to the Rangers Sunday, and team celebrated by toasting the accomplishment at the hotel.

Showalter understands the divisional challenge, especially with the Yankees ending the regular season at home.

‘‘We’ll do what we can do,’’ Showalter said. ‘‘We have to take care of ourselves.’’

Ben Zobrist hit his 20th homer and Chris Giminez had a two-run double off Wei-Yin Chen as the Rays pulled away from a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Cobb (11-9) yielded a fourth-inning single to J.J. Hardy and an opposite-field solo homer to Matt Wieters that had tied it in the top of the seventh.

Zobrist hit a solo homer in the fourth for the Rays, who won for the 11th time in 12 games. The Rays scored three unearned runs off Chen (12-11) in the seventh, then added one in the eighth for a 5-1 lead.

Chris Davis homered for the fifth straight game for Baltimore, a two-run shot off Kyle Farnsworth that trimmed the deficit to 5-3 in the ninth.

Fernando Rodney gave up singles to Jones and Wieters to put the tying runs on base, but struck out Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds before getting Endy Chavez to hit a grounder to the mound to end the game.

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