With Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Oakland A’s, the Orioles settled for a series split, and dropped to 3-4 on the West Coast road trip to this point.
In order to salvage a .500+ trip, the O’s will have to at least win the series starting tomorrow in Seattle. The wildcard hunt is still in full-swing even though this latest loss drops the Orioles to two games below .500 for the season.
The Orioles started out the scoring early on again today. In the first inning, Matt Joyce missed a Manny Machado fly ball on a full-out dive, and it resulted in a stand up triple with one down. As he tends to do when Manny reaches, adorable bestie, Jonathan Schoop, singled Manny home on a drive back through the box and into center field.
Kendall Graveman managed to otherwise work around the pair of hits by the dynamic duo of Birdland, allowing only the one run in the first frame. It felt like Graveman was being hit hard and hit often, but his final line of 7.0IP, 8H, 2ER, 1BB, 8K was plenty to earn him the pitcher win for the afternoon.
Taking the hill for the Orioles today would be Jeremy Hellickson. Coming into the day, Hellickson had given up 3 ER over 13.0 IP across two starts since being traded to the O’s. Hellickson would not fare so well this afternoon, with a final line of 5.0IP, 5H, 6ER, 2BB, 4K.
The Birds tallied another run in the second on the back of a Mark Trumbo double and an opposite-field single by Chris Davis. Unfortunately for the Orioles, on the next play, Seth Smith bounced a ball that all non-Oakland players thought was foul. Davis stayed at first, and Smith did not even drop the bat. Oakland threw the ball around the diamond for an easy double play.
It’s unclear whether Smith thought the ball hit him in the batter’s box (which would have caused a “foul” call) or not. Regardless, The O’s likely missed a chance to score more in the inning due to the odd play.
A pair of singles from Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to start the third inning didn’t amount to any more runs scored due to a couple of strikeouts and a groundout to follow. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hellickson continued to roll through the Oakland lineup, having only allowed a single base runner through three innings.
The fourth inning was the big turning point in this game. Hellickson was now on his second time through the order, and looked markedly less crisp than his first time through. A single to Marcus Semien and a Walk to Khris Davis set up the scoring.
Ryon Healy doubled Semien to the plate. Matt Olson then grounded to Chris Davis, and with Khris Davis trying to score, Chris hastily threw to the plate without stepping on first base. Everybody was safe, and the score was knotted at two.
Up until this point, Hellickson wasn’t being hit very hard, but Matt Chapman changed that with a frozen rope three-run homer pulled out to left field. Suddenly the score was 5-2 in favor of the A’s. Hellickson rallied back to get the next two guys, but the damage was done, and it would prove irreparable for the day.
After the storm that was the A’s fourth inning, the O’s went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, and the A’s tallied another run in the bottom. A Matt Joyce double + steal of third + a Marcus Semien sac fly would get the job done for the Oakland team.
Jeremy Hellickson was yanked by Showalter after issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth. Richard Bleier came on and shut the inning down, but Matt Joyce knocked him out of the game in the seventh with a monster two-run home run.
That made the game 8-2 in favor of the A’s, which apparently is in “surrender” territory, because Chris Tillman would be Bleier’s replacement. You may remember Chris Tillman from his 8.10 ERA as a starter in 2017.
For whatever it’s worth, Tillman actually acquitted himself well in his first career relief appearance, striking out two and not allowing a base runner over 1.1IP.
Zach Britton came on to get some work in the eighth, and promptly allowed a solo home run to Matt Olson. Yes, you read that right. That’s just the sort of day it was.
The Orioles managed only one more run for the remainder of the game. Manny Machado a monster FUHR to lead off the top of the eighth off of Ryan Dull. Machado was Dull’s first batter faced, with Graveman not coming back out to start the inning.
Santiago Casilla slammed the door shut on the Orioles in the top of the ninth, and Oakland walked away with an easy victory Sunday afternoon.
The O’s will be back in action tomorrow night to kick-off a three game set in Seattle. Kevin Gausman will face recent Oriole, Yovani Gallardo at 10:10pm ET.