Yesterday’s close game ended by a score of 3-2. Tonight’s game had a similarly close score, and unfortunately the Orioles also fell on the wrong side, losing to the Athletics 2-1. So I was wrong: the Orioles lose their chance at winning 3/4 of the games and instead must go for the split.
The A’s scored their runs in the third inning against Wade Miley, who was making his second start as an Oriole. With one out, Marcus Semien singled to left-center. Jake Smolinski quickly followed with another single, moving Semien to second base. Former Oriole and lefty-killer Danny Valencia then doubled to deep right field, scoring Semien to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Smolinski stopped at third but scored one batter later when Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly. That made it 2-0 A’s.
The Orioles answered in the top of the fourth when Adam Jones rocketed his 22nd homer of the season over the left-field fence, making it 2-1. The dinger came off A’s starter Zach Neal, who was making his second career start. But that was about all Neal and his defense allowed. Besides the Jones dinger, the only other Oriole to reach base against the starter was Jonathan Schoop, who doubled in the top of the 6th.
Neal and Miley weren’t dominating, but they were effective. While they combined for only three strikeouts, they induced a ton of ground balls. Neal registered nearly 65% grounders; Miley, close to 48%. That kept the infield defense busy all night.
The loss drops the Orioles to 63-49 while the Athletics move to 50-63. The series continues tomorrow when Yovani Gallardo opposes Ross Detwiler. The Blue Jays also lost their game, meaning they remain tied with the Orioles atop the AL East.