Unfortunately, it appears the Orioles offense couldn't drive in consistent runs if the baseball morphed into a beach ball when it came out of the pitcher's hand. Plating runs has been a difficult task for the Birds as of late, and game one of Saturday's doubleheader certainly continued to follow that trend.
Putting just three hits on the board over the first eight innings, the O's fell to the Athletics 8-4 in their alternate black uniforms. Even Paul Janish, who made his first start of the season in the matinee, couldn't provide the needed spark to capture the 'W'.
The A's kicked things off in the second inning with a hit parade against Wright. They managed to stack together four weak singles, a few against the shift, to put a run across the board to provide the first offensive production on the afternoon.
Their first time through the order, Wright surrendered five hits, bailed out by a clean Schoop/Janish double play and a pair of strikeouts. But again in the third, Oakland found their way to two more singles and another manufactured (sac-fly) run, putting the score at 2-0 after the third.
Continuing the trend of the month of May, the Orioles' bats were silent for much of the early afternoon. While Oakland couldn't stop making contact against Wright, the O's were ice cold against Rich Hill. Four of the first eight outs were strikeouts.
The 36-year-old lefty threw the Baltimore lineup a steady dose of early curveballs, his heavily relied upon pitch that he threw with fastball-like consistency. For whatever reason, the Hill curveball had the lineup acting as though they had never seen a breaking pitch through the entirety of their careers - strange, but true.
#Orioles have scored just one run over their last 27 innings. Is that good?— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) May 7, 2016
As the lineup scuffled, Wright continued to be hit around the park. The A's got on the board again in the fifth with a Josh Reddick RBI double, Oakland's ninth hit of the day. Wright finished with 5+ innings, allowing five runs over 10 hits and a walk, striking out just three.
Dylan Bundy entered in the fifth with two on, and well, that's where it all crashed and burned. He walked Marcus Semien to load the bases, Matt Wieters allowed a passed ball to push the score to 4-0, and Jed Lowrie punched a two-RBI single to center for a 6-0 lead. By then, everyone at Camden Yards was pretty much begging for the second game of the day-night doubleheader.
Aside from a Manny Machado leadoff single and run scored in the sixth, there was no excitement to be found for much of the game. Jonathan Schoop struck out with the bases loaded to end that frame, snuffing out the only real hope of a game-altering big inning.
Rich Hill finished his outing with five strikeouts and just two hits allowed.
Bundy, Brian Matsuz and Mychal Givens all struggled to pound the zone and miss bats in the latter innings, while the offense stayed quiet and asleep until the ninth inning rolled around. If nothing else, perhaps the bottom of the ninth provided a bit of a spark before tonight's nightcap.
Schoop, Joey Rickard (RBI) and Nolan Reimold all mustered singles before Pedro Alvarez knocked a two-run double to left centerfield, cutting the Oakland lead to 8-4 and helping the final score not appear as ugly as the game turned out to be.
Hey, if it helps the stat sheets to look good...