The Baltimore Orioles lost tonight, 8-4. Since sweeping the Yankees two weekends ago, they have gone 2-6. It's not the end of the world, not even close, but it's getting hard to watch. On their most recent road trip their offense was slumping while the starting pitching was, for the most part, improved. So at least we had that to cling to. In the last two games against the Rangers, however, the starting pitching has also abandoned the team.
I feel like I should just set up a template for recaps that details how a pitcher started a game off well only to have one fall apart inning the led to the loss. Tonight, that fall apart inning was the fifth for Zach Britton. Through four innings he had faced sixteen batters and the only run on the board was on a solo home run from Adrian Beltre. Britton did let runners on, but thanks to his ground ball was able to turn two double plays in those four innings.
The Orioles scored one run each in the second and third innings to give the Orioles a brief 2-1 lead. In the second, back-to-back-to-back two-out singles from Matt Wieters, Nate McLouth, and Brian Roberts resulted in the first run. And in the third, Manny Machado hit his seventh home run of the season, a line drive to left field that landed about five rows back.
So, about that fifth inning. Britton retired Robinson Chirinos for the first out, but then walked number nine hitter Leonys Martin. He continues to struggle with walks even on his good days. The O's caught a break when Martin tried to steal as Britton was throwing over to first. Chris Davis fired down to second base to get the second out. Britton started 0-2 on the next batter, Ian Kinsler, and was THIS close to getting out of the inning. But Kinsler singled and Britton walked the next batter, Jurickson Profar. Walks are the most frustrating, especially when they come in front of batters like Nelson Cruz and Beltre.
Cruz singled through the left side, just beyond the reach of both Machado and J.J. Hardy. A few inches either way and it could have been the third out, but that's how it goes. That's why you probably shouldn't walk two batters in an inning. Beltre took ball one but then hit the second pitch out for his second home run of the night. It capped off the four-run inning and put the Orioles in a three-run hole.
It looked like the O's might bounce back though, thanks to some shoddy defense from the Rangers. Both Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis reached on errors to start the bottom of the fifth. Unfortunately after the Rangers gifted the O's runners, Machado popped out on the first pitch and Adam Jones struck out swinging. Adam is just ice cold right now, it's hard to watch. Davis is also cold but it didn't matter this time as he was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With two down, Hardy came through in the clutch with a single to left field that knocked in both Reimold and Markakis, and just like that they were only down one run.
Unfortunately, they didn't score any more runs. In innings six through nine they had just one base runner on a walk by Markakis. But he was called out due to catcher's interference. He ran on the pitch as Machado took a called strike three. The umpire said that Machado was in the way of A.J. Pierzynski being able to throw down to second. That's just the kind of game it was.
The Rangers added two runs in the seventh, both charged to Kevin Gausman (although Matusz allowed the second run to score after replacing him). Darren O'Day gave up the final run in the 9th on hits by Cruz and Beltre.